'Boracay beaches turning brown'

Posted at 01/08/13 11:53 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A stakeholders group on Tuesday welcomed a government order to demolish structures of 80 Boracay resorts, saying the move will help restore the beauty of Boracay's beaches.

Speaking to ANC, Boracay Foundation Inc. director and beach front resort owner Nenette Graf welcomed the government order to re-establish the easement portion area of the 4-kilometer white sand beach in Boracay.

"This is a welcome move from our side, the stakeholders. I think it is about  time that we protect our white beach, to preserve it. At this point in time, we are really at a panic because our beaches...is becoming brown already," she said.

Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez earlier said at least 80 establishments on Boracay island face possible demolition by end of March this year for building too close to the water line.

He said a government task force, composed of the tourism, environment, health, justice and interior and local government departments, has already ordered the establishments to self-demolish.

Graf said she knows of 11 Boracay resorts that have received the government order to self-demolish. One of them is the Nandana Boracay Resort, while the others are in Station 3, she added.

She said none of the establishments have yet to comply with the government order.

Graf admitted that some resort owners deliberately violated the rules after seeing other establishments do the same thing. "Now, it's payback time," she said.

Jimenez earlier said the deadline for the self-demolition is non-negotiable because of the deterioration of the island's beaches. He said resorts that ignore the order will still be demolished and the expenses shouldered by the owners.

He confirmed some of the structures, including embankments to prevent floods, will be completely demolished for building too near the water line.

"Boracay is a very important island. I hope everybody understands - we have given them ample warning and reasonable time to cooperate. Beyond that, the interests of the general public must prevail," he said.

Boracay was recently named the world's best island getaway by international travel magazine "Travel + Leisure", besting Bali island in Indonesia.

However, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje warned Boracay's world-famous white sand beaches are disappearing because of development projects on the island.

These include the controversial West Cove resort, which became controversial for constructing structures on natural rock formations and operating for years without permits.