Ramon Ang on Boracay rehab: It’s a step in the right direction

World-famous island resort Boracay will get a much-needed rehabilitation after it has been ordered closed for six months starting April 26, 2018. (PNA file photo)

MANILA — San Miguel Corp. (SMC) President and COO Ramon Ang said he supports the government’s initiative to regenerate the world-famous island resort of Boracay and eventually transform it into a sustainable tourist destination.

SMC currently operates the Boracay Airport in Caticlan and undertakes its upgrade to turn it into a world-class airport.

“Addressing long-standing problems with sewage and solid wastes brought about by rapid growth of tourism, commerce and unfettered development now, is critical to ensuring Boracay’s long-term sustainability,” Ang said.

He continued: “The island needs to be rehabilitated and we have to support the government. Yes, we will endure some short-term pain but it’s a step in the right direction and in (the) end, we are hopeful it would bring about long-term gain for all.”

However, to ensure that Boracay would continue to thrive, Ang said all concerned sectors, including government, businesses, developers, and its residents, must also look beyond the island and move to disperse tourism to nearby municipalities, such as Caticlan and Nabas.

This, he said, would result in higher tourism revenues for the whole of Aklan province, more jobs for locals, and increased competitiveness of the Philippines as a tourist destination. More significantly, it would decongest Boracay island, he added.

Building a bridge

Ang said a novel approach to solve Boracay’s environmental woes and bring about growth to other areas in Aklan is to build a Caticlan-to-Boracay bridge. The bridge, he said, would reduce the need for tourists and tourism workers to stay in the island.

“Tourists and visitors will have the option to go to Boracay during the day and in the afternoon or at night for accommodations outside the island,” he said.

The accessibility of Boracay, through the proposed bridge, would enable developers to build hotels and resorts outside the island. These can be premiere destinations in their own right as these areas also boast of beautiful beaches and coastlines, he said.

Some new establishments, on the other hand, can be positioned as alternative or more affordable accommodations for tourists. At the same time, accommodations for workers can also be built.

With this, thousands of tourism workers from neighboring provinces would also no longer need to reside in Boracay and contribute to the growth in population and as a result, waste.

“The development of neighboring areas would boost Aklan’s economy as a whole, while keeping (the) island of Boracay sustainable for generations to come,” Ang said.

Solving sewage, garbage problem

Ang said the construction of a bridge could also solve the garbage and sewage problem on the island and can be used as a safe way to deliver sewage via pipes, which would be built into the bridge design, out of Boracay. Maintenance and repair will also be easier to manage.

This will also solve the garbage disposal issue as daily refuse can be easily transported out of the island, removing the need to put up a dumpsite. (SMC PR/PNA)