Manila Standard : Beleaguered Boracay folks seek BBM aid

22 February 2022

By Rey E. Requejo | Manila Standard

Business leaders and residents in the tourism paradise of Boracay Island in Aklan called on presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to take notice of their problems and help them get back on their feet if he wins the May 9 national elections.

“We are looking at these developments in the island and the May elections that will decide who will be our next leader would be very crucial to who we are and what we are doing here,” businesswoman Elena Tosco Tosco said.

“Whoever can give us the assurance that the rights that we have been fighting for will be heard – no one will be displaced, the issue of the power of imminent domain, the continuous demolitions without relocations – these things are what triggered us to look for someone who can help us, and by all indications Mr. Marcos is in a position to win,” local broadcaster Allan Palma said.

Palma said they closely monitored the other candidates’ stand on the matter and “they want to hear categorically what Marcos will have to say, because from the looks of it. he doesn’t want people to be displaced and he doesn’t want businesses to shut down.”

Popular for its picturesque white sand beaches and sky blue waters, Boracay Island is the country’s top tourist destination and a major revenue earner.

According to the Department of Tourism, the island attracts more than two million visitors and generated a staggering P56 billion in revenue before the pandemic.

“There are social injustices and there were people and businessmen who were displaced here. These problems were aggravated by the pandemic. In general, everyone here was affected and the way things are going right now only someone with political will who understands our plight can help us rise from our predicaments,” Tosco said.

Among the most contentious issues, Tosco said, was the report of an impending take-over of the Boracay Island Development Authority (BIDA).

Asked what is needed to settle the issue, Tosco said: “There is a need for a government policy based on science and a cadastral map and correct technical description that would lead to titling of properties.”

A cadastral map is a general land administrative tool, which has no real legislative basis and often created to be used by a broad range of people for all manner of things including real estate sales, valuation, and planning.