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Boracay Island’s legendary powdery white sands may be a tempting souvenir to bring home, but visitors to the famous island should now think twice before doing so.
According to an August 22 report from the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), authorities of Malay, Aklan where Boracay is located have recently amended Municipal Ordinance 310, which bans people from collecting white sand and pebbles from the island’s beaches and imposes stricter penalties on those who have been caught doing so.
Under the amendments, first-time offenders will be fined P2,500 or imprisoned for one to three months, or be both fined and imprisoned, depending on the decision of the court. Meanwhile, second-time or subsequent sand stealers will be penalized with three to six months imprisonment.
Also, under the ordinance, presidents, managers, administrators, owners or proprietors of business establishments caught in violation of the ordinance will be fined P2,500 and/or imprisoned for one to six months. Their business permits may also be revoked.
The ordinance also stipulates that offenders return extracted white sand and pebbles to the beaches where they were taken.
According to the PIA report, Malay authorities enforced the amendments to “stop the blatant extraction of white sand in the island of Boracay which has greatly diminished its beauty and caused the slow degradation if not the destruction of the pristine island.”
“Boracay Island, a masterpiece of nature endowed by the Almighty with powdery white sand, is gradually dissipated by man’s selfish interests without due regard to consequences,” the ordinance read.
Elsewhere in the world, famous travel spots are also suffering from thieving tourists.
According to an article on CNN Go, other stolen souvenirs include cobblestones and mosaic pieces from ancient Roman sites, bricks from the Great Wall of China, and a fairy penguin from an Australian marine park. –KG, GMA News