Next time you Throw Garbages think about this:"The Price of Mother Nature is HIGH"

Gov't agencies reveal cost of Boracay rehabilitation

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The inter-agency task force in charge of Boracay's rehabilitation revealed Wednesday that it has proposed a ₱4.2 billion budget for the cleanup of the island.

In a press conference a day before the island's temporarily closure, the different departments each declared the amounts they were eyeing to spend on various aspects of the rehabilitation.

Island rehabilitation, construction budgets

For the Environment Department, Biodiversity Management Bureau Director Crisanta Marlene Rodriguez said they are proposing about P29 million for restoring wetlands, caves, and other coastal resources.

Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo, meanwhile, revealed her department has allocated ₱1.1 billion through the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority. This will be used for repairing the drainage system of the island destination.

The Tourism Department will also allot about ₱10 million for training workers of business establishments compliant with all regulations.

Department of Public Works and Highways Undersecretary Roberto Bernardo said they are looking at an augmentation fund of about ₱500 million for the construction of a 5.2-kilometer road, which would include a drainage system, the sidewalks, and streetlights.

Cash assistance

While Malacañang has yet to issue an executive order or proclamation declaring Boracay in a state of calamity, the Department of Social Welfare and Development is gunning for a ₱2-billion fund to assist the locals and another ₱520 million for the informal workers.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III earlier pegged emergency employment assistance funds at P60 million.

READ: Interior Asec: Boracay businessmen 'scaring' locals

Bello also said the department will roll out an emergency employment program where 5,000 workers would be hired to assist in the cleanup of the island as well as some office work. Some 2,000 jobs will be given to members of the Ati tribe, he added.

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, meanwhile, said his department will be offering two programs for the farmers and fisherfolk of Boracay.

First is the production loan with a ₱39-million budget, where farmers could borrow between ₱15,000 to ₱50,000. The second one is the Survival and Recovery Assistance program, where a farmer or fisherfolk family will be given ₱25,000 to be able to ride through days without income.

READ: DA: Boracay farmers, fisherfolk can loan by next week

Tourism Congress of the Philippines President Jojo Clemente said around 36,000 people may lose their jobs when Boracay closes.

READ: Businessmen appeal Boracay shutdown: 36,000 jobs at stake

The island welcomed over 2 million visitors in 2017 and generated P56 billion in estimated total revenues.

READ: Gov't to use calamity fund to help displaced Boracay workers

Interior Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing III earlier said the government may lose up to ₱20 billion in revenues if the six-month closure pushes through. The task force, however, has previously said Boracay's soft opening may happen in just three to four months.

The scramble to cleanup the world-famous tourist destination came after President Rodrigo Duterte called it "a cesspool," and threatened to shut it down permanently if its pollution problem went unsolved.


6-month Boracay closure to cost economy P1.96B

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The six-month closure of Boracay Island from tourists starting Thursday, April 26, will cost the economy about P1.96 billion, which the country’s chief economist said Tuesday would be compensated for by an increase in arrivals in other domestic tourist spots.

Citing an earlier estimate of the state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and Neda director general Ernesto M. Pernia told a press briefing that the temporary closure of the popular tourist destination, which will be rehabilitated from environmental degradation, would shed only 0.1 percent from the gross domestic product this year.

Noting that the economy was currently about P14 trillion worth and was expected to grow by at least 7 percent this year, about P980 million a quarter would be lost, especially in the affected local government units.

“Boracay [island], Malay [town], Aklan [province] and Region 6 will suffer—their growth rates will be trimmed,” Pernia said.

For Western Visayas, its gross regional domestic product growth would be cut by 5.7 percentage points, Pernia added.

The Neda chief nonetheless said that “on the other hand, there will be other areas in the Visayas earning some increase in growth rates; also, Luzon and Mindanao will have some increase” as tourists are instead expected to flock to other destinations in the country.

“We are only assuming that 50 percent of the volume of tourists going to Boracay will be going to the other [local] destinations. I would assume that closer to 70-75 percent of those who used to go to Boracay will go to the other tourist destinations, especially domestic tourists,” Pernia said.

“It’s going to be a temporary shortfall in terms of tourism income and tourist arrivals,” Pernia added.

“Regarding the possible shortfall in tourist arrivals due to the Boracay closure, the Department of Tourism will have to step up its efforts at advertising and marketing our several other tourist destinations, so the same volume of tourists, if not more, will be diverted to these other beautiful locations,” the Neda chief said in a separate statement.

Private stakeholders in the tourism industry earlier projected that economic losses from the six-month closure of the world-renowned island could exceed P50 billion in tourism revenues while 35,000 jobs would be lost. Most affected are the resorts and airlines, which have already cut back on their flights to and from the island.


DENR gears up for P47-billion Manila Bay rehabilitation

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The government is preparing for the rehabilitation of Manila Bay starting January 27.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary Benny Antiporda on Tuesday confirmed that the Duterte administration is allotting P47 billion to fund the clean-up. The budget will also be used to look for relocation sites of affected families living near the bay.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the total budget may amount to P132 billion, adding the road users' tax for government projects will be utilized to fund the rehabilitation.

"That's only part of the road users tax. Malaki 'yung road users tax (Road users tax is large)," he said in a media briefing on Tuesday.

The special Road Board fund amounts to P45 billion, according to the Department of Budget and Management. President Rodrigo Duterte, during a Cabinet meeting on Monday, said the fund can also be used to finance hospital needs and additional help to Tropical Depression Usman's victims.

Like Boracay rehabilitation?

Manila Bay is one of the many locations in the Philippines that is being rehabilitated by the Duterte administration. In April 2018, the world-famous Boracay island was closed off to tourists for six months to be cleaned up.

Palace said nearby establishments along Manila Bay may be ordered closed if found guilty of violating environment rules.

"The policy of the government is if you violate certain regulations, you need to pay for that. Kung anong ginawa natin sa Boracay, yun din gagawin natin sa lahat," Panelo said.

(Translation: What we did with Boracay, we will do with the rest.)

In a speech later that day, President Rodrigo Duterte specifically warned hotels near the bay about their waste disposal systems.

"Lagyan niyo ng water treatment yan... You do something about your waste otherwise I will close you," the President said.

There is no completion date for the rehabilitation, but Panelo said DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu hopes to finish it by the end of Duterte's term in June 2022.

"No specific timeline, depende 'yan eh (it depends). What is important to the President is that he will clean up Manila Bay," he said.

The 2,000-square kilometer Manila Bay has been found to have extreme levels of coliform. Cimatu earlier said the bacteria came from waste spilled by the esteros or estuaries in Metro Manila.

The secretary said the long-term goal is to reduce the coliform level to 100 most probable numbers per 100 milliliters (MPN/100ml) or low enough for the bay to be safe for swimming. Currently, the level is at 333 million MPN/100ml.


Garcia urges Alcoy officials to ‘speak up’ on dolomite issue

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CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia called the attention of local officials in Alcoy town, and urged them to shed light on the controversy involving the transport of crushed dolomite rocks for Manila Bay’s rehabilitation project.

Garcia, in a report from the province-ran Sugbo News, told Alcoy Mayor Michael Angelo Sestoso and Vice Mayor Jimmy Abajon in a meeting held at the Capitol on Thursday, September 10, to come up with their statement on the matter.

“What do we expect from the Municipality of Alcoy? In the midst of all of these, dili man mahimo nga ako lang magsige og tingog (it’s not enough I’m the only one who will speak up). Continued silence from Alcoy is very telling,” said Garcia.

Read: Garcia: CDO covers only transport, selling of dolomite in local market

Three thousand five hundred (3,500) tons of pulverized dolomite rocks mined in the mountains of Alcoy town were used to transform Manila Bay into an artificially-made white sand beach, a move that was met with widespread criticism.

Read: Kalikasan writ eyed against Manila Bay white sand project

The Cebu Provincial Government has intervened on the matter, with Garcia calling a meeting with local officials as well as those from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).

During Thursday’s meeting, the report from Sugbo News stated that Garcia questioned why the local government of Alcoy was not able to earn more income from the two firms mining and processing dolomite — Dolomite Mining Corporation (DMC) and Philippine Mining Service Corporation (PMSC).

This after Sestoso and Abajon, according to the same report, told the governor that the operations of DMC and PMSC generated jobs for local residents there.

Garcia said the local government of Alcoy was unable to gain 70 percent of income in the sale of waste deposits.

Quarrying site for dolomite rocks in Alcoy town, southern Cebu | Photo courtesy of MGB – 7

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This could have been done, she added, if the two companies were directed to secure waste disposal permits from local authorities.

“Alcoy has to come up with a statement. Nga after all kamo mismo nga nag-host niining duha ka kumpanya dugay na nga wala naka-realize sa income nga angay unta madawat sa Alcoy, nga madawat sa barangay,” she said.

(Alcoy has to come up with a statement. After all, you are the town hosting these two companies, and throughout their operations, you were not able to realize the income Alcoy could have earned, the barangay could have earned.)

Reporters on Friday, September 11, tried to contact Sestoso multiple times for his comments but to no avail.

MGB in Central Visayas (MGB-7) earlier confirmed that the raw materials used to fill portions of Manila Bay were sourced from DMC — a mining operator based in Barangay Pugalo, Alcoy town.

They said DMC holds a Mineral Processing Sharing Agreement (MPSA) to mine dolomite, a mineral composed of calcium magnesium carbonate.

PMSC, on the other hand, is DMC’s sole buyer and has been granted a Mineral Processing Permit by MGB. The plant, also situated within Alcoy, processes the mined dolomite rocks which were then sold to markets both locally and abroad.

Alcoy is a fifth-class town located around 102 kilometers southeast of Cebu City. Experts said huge deposits of dolomite rocks can be found in the town’s mountains. /dbs

READ MORE: 3.5k metric tons of dolomite for Manila Bay from Alcoy, Cebu


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