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Parties, weddings likely banned on beach when Boracay opens —DENR


Parties and weddings on the beach in Boracay are likely to be banned when the world-famous island opens after the government closed it to tourists in April.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said these and the use of LED lights for fire dances are some of the measures that the inter-agency task force was looking at to ensure Boracay's environmental soundness when it is finally opened to travellers.

"Puwede mag party sa loob ng hotel, sa establishment pero huwag doon sa beach," Cimatu told GMA News.

He said parties on the beach were also prone to the proliferation of illegal drugs in the island.

As for dream weddings set against a white beach and clear blue waters, Cimatu said,"They can do their wedding ceremony, birthday ceremony doon sa loob ng hotel establishment."

"Napapansin kasi namin, the sand in Puca Beach, ihambing mo sa White Beach, mas maputi ang sa Puca Beach," Cimatu said.

"Kasi walang nagpa-party doon," he added.

Cimatu also expressed concern over the popular fire dances in the island.

"Katulad  noong fire ano ba yun? Fire dancer. Gas yata ginagamit, minsan tumatalsik," Cimatu said.

"These are already pollutant. Meron palang LED yun e. Yung may ilaw," he added.

Asked if penalties await those who would violate the said measures, Cimatu said the task force had yet to finalize the policy as regards parties in Boracay.

"Wala pa. Napag-usapan namin kahapon yun, e, pero this will be further fine tuned," Cimatu said.

Dry run in mid-October

Select tourists will be allowed to enter Boracay as part of the dry run ahead of the island's reopening on October 26, the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) said in a statement released by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Thursday.

The BIATF— chaired by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, with the interior and tourism secretaries serving as vice chairpersons—said that the dry run will be held from October 15 to 25, and the island's soft opening on October 26.

The popular tourist island was closed in April for a six-month rehabilitation period.

The closure was recommended by the BIATF after the President called the area a cesspool.

According to the BIATF, while some tourists will be able to enter the island during the dry run, Aklan locals will be prioritized.

"This will be open to local tourists, with Aklanons as priority, and allow us to assess what else needs to be done before the island is reopened to all tourists—both domestic and foreign—on October 26," the task force's statement said.

The BIATF also warned that the public should first wait for the release of the list of establishments allowed to operate before they make reservations.

"Since the Department of Tourism will have the final approval with requirements, we also call on the public to wait for the announcement on which compliant and accredited establishments will initially be allowed to operate by October 26 before they proceed with their own reservations," it said.

Duterte in May said businesses would be allowed back on the island once the rehabilitation is done, provided that locals of the area are given full priority in terms of land reform. —NB, GMA News