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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, April 6, 2018
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DOT official eyes cap
on tourists in Boracay


An official of the Department of Tourism said yesterday that the inter-agency task force plans to acquire a system similar to the regulation arrangements to limit visitors coming into Boracay after its rehabilitation ends in six months.

"We are going to have to control the number of people entering the island," Tourism Assistant Secretary Frederick Alegre said in a press briefing in Malacañang.

Alegre said that in the Subterranean River in Palawan, there is a 2,000 daily capacity, meaning, walk-in visitors can no longer go there without online registration.

Mt. Apo has also been slowly reopened and like in Palawan, only a certain number is allowed to enter and trek, Alegre said.

"This is not new and the interagency task force will do the same thing for Boracay when we resume operations," he said.

In 2017, tourist arrivals in the island reached 2.1 million. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is currently conducting a study to update the carrying capacity of Boracay island.

"We had made one study of carrying capacity, but it was in 2007," DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones said.

"But then, and even without the carrying capacity, looking at what is happening now in Boracay where illegal structure are already encroaching on easements and wetlands and forestlands, and with the garbage problem being tremendous, this has becomethe parameters that it increased," he added.

Despite this, they intend to finish the study in time for the rehabilitation conclusion.

"The carrying capacity now will determine the sustainability of the rehabilitation we will be doing in Boracay because if don't do the carrying capacity it would probably revert to its previous situation after six months," he said.

Leones said the cap would serve as future guide on how many tourists should be accommodated by the island, and how many developments should be allowed.

"What is critical here is the rehabilitation first, and then the carrying capacity will set the threshold and limit on what development should be allowed in Boracay Island," he said.*PNA


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