Malacañang on Thursday assured the public anew that Boracay, once rehabilitated, would benefit all Filipinos and not just the rich resort owners on the island.
Although Congress will determine who gets to own what in Boracay, President Duterte wants ordinary Filipinos to enjoy all that the world-famous island has to offer, according to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.
The government shut down Boracay for six months starting late April to allow the authorities to rehabilitate the island, which President Duterte had called a cesspool.
“The President, for the third time, reiterated that it should be for the common individual. Boracay is for all Filipinos and ordinary citizens, and not the rich resort owners,” Roque said.
In a speech on Wednesday, President Duterte again said the entire island would be placed under land reform.
He also said Congress could classify as commercial areas properties beyond a beach easement 30 meters from the edge of the water, which could not be claimed by anyone.
“It’s for the public enjoyment so that everyone can enjoy the beach . . . It’s called the public easement,” Roque said.
He noted that there was a Supreme Court decision declaring Boracay public land.
He was referring to the unanimous ruling by the high court on Oct. 8, 2008, upholding Proclamation No. 1064 issued by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2006 declaring the entire island a property of the state, except areas with titles.
The presidential proclamation categorized 628.96 hectares, or 60.94 percent of the island, as alienable and disposable, and the rest as forest land and protected areas.
“There are pending legislation in Congress that would enable some inhabitants to obtain land titles. I think that’s part of the legislative agenda for Boracay, for congressmen ultimately to determine who gets to own what in Boracay,” Roque said.
text JULIE M. AURELIO
This article was originally published on INQUIRER.NET