Boracay icon, wider roads welcome island visitors

A giant Boracay icon, new and wider roads, and cleaner beaches welcomed local and foreign tourists on the first day of the island’s reopening after six months of rehabilitation.

The Boracay icon, which signifies the new face of the island, was unveiled at Cagban Port, the island’s main entry point, on Friday.

The colorful Boracay marker consists of seven 10-ft.-tall letters spelling out the island’s name, with a giant picture of the popular Puka Beach as the background.

The activity was led by members of the Boracay Inter Agency Task Force, including Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Interior officer-in-charge Secretary Eduardo Año, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, and executive officials of agencies involved in its rehabilitation.

The newly-paved Cagban road was likewise opened together with the Cagban Port.

The Cagban road is part of the 4.1-km. road being rehabilitated by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) as part of Phase I of the island’s facelift.

Public Works Secretary Mark Villar said the island’s road construction is already 80 percent done and is expected to be completed in December.

Villar, in a press conference after the reopening ceremony, said Boracay’s new roads are wider, and will also have sidewalks and bike lanes. The task force implemented a 12-meter road easement policy.

“From four to five meters, now our roads are 12 meters wide with sidewalks,” he said.

Task force head Cimatu also emphasized that Boracay is “no longer a cesspool.”

The task force has declared the waters of Boracay safe for swimming during the start of the dry run for the reopening last October 15.

“This is a continuous rehabilitation,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Puyat said in the same press conference, urging stakeholders to continue helping in the rehabilitation.

Fiona Lauren Molina, president of the Compliant Association of Boracay, a group of compliant businesses on the island, said the task force helped pave the way for a better Boracay.

As business owners, Molina said, they will continue to comply with the rules set by the task force to ensure sustainable tourism on the island. (PNA)

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