Boracay Under Threat
From Tourism Secretary
by Ambrosio R. Villorente
"Boracay Under Threat" is the article published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer issued on Saturday, July 10. The article is the offshoot of the Agence France Presse interview with Tourism Sec. Alberto Lim.
With this interview, Sec. Lim is now fit for dismissal from the Pres. Benigno C. Aquino cabinet. His responses to the questions revealed his ignorance of the Philippines and lack of love of country; it is anti Filipino.
Here are what he said in the interview: "If you go to Boracay you’d love the beach, you’d love the night life and the good restaurants. But it’s so dense, it’s so dense." He continued, "It is now you know, too commercial. The 10.3 square kilometer island was a different place a generation ago. The sprawl that followed the tourist’s dollars caused the seawater off the four-kilometer white sand beachfront to sprout algae, which was fed by sewage from the hotels and restaurant. Thirty years ago, they tried to set the rules but they were not successful. The local government did not cooperate so people started overbuilding."
No Filipino will tell these negative words against his own country, more particularly the Secretary of Tourism. Alberto Lim has betrayed his own country.
Not contented of destroying Boracay, Lim added: "Of course, bad sewage – that’s why algae at certain times of the year. It’s green. It’s the result of the sewage seeping out. The algae there is not yucky, its moss. Maybe fish eat it. But it’s an indication that there’s a problem below the surface."
Lim has pictured a bad image of Boracay to the foreigners even if he is expected to promote favorable image to the tourism destinations in the Philippines. What can the Filipinos expect from Lim as Secretary of Tourism? Destruction. He is not fit as member of the presidential cabinet. He must yield his position to a man highly qualified person.
Lim Exhibits Ignorance
Asked if the problems in 1990 are solved, Lim exhibited his ignorance when he answered: "I’m not sure. I don’t think so, that’s why at certain time of the year, the algae forms."
Not contented, Lim said the worst of Boracay. He asked tourists to go to other destinations. He said, "But there are other places that have better quality sand, tourists may just have to look elsewhere".
Lim’s interview was not only published in the PDI. It was placed in the internet and read all over the world thereby damaging the Philippines tourists industry. He should resign.
He is doing a disservice to his country.
In reaction to the bad publicity and negative effects of the Lim interview, Gov. Carlito S. Marquez and Cong. Florencio T. Miraflores wrote Pres. Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III about the exaggerated comments of his Tourism Secretary "on the sewage problems and overdevelopment and undisguised advice to tourists to look elsewhere". Sec. Lim is "too happy to let go of Boracay", said Marquez and Miraflores.
On July 13, Mr. Lim wrote Gov. Marquez whom he told: "that is farthest from the truth". Who is telling the truth? Agence France Presse, or Mr. Lim?
In its 1st Special Session on July 13, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Aklan unanimously approved a Resolution No. 2010 – 007 "Strongly Protesting the Pronouncements of Sec. Alberto Lim of the Department of Tourism Against Boracay Island as a Tourist Destination Which Was Widely Disseminated In a National Paper and Various Websites over the Internet, thereby Destroying the Reputation of Boracay Island and Damaging the Province’s As Well As The Country’s Tourism Industry, and Requesting The Hon. Secretary to Clarify and Rectify His Statements".
The resolution signed by Odon S. Bandiola, Vice Gov. Gabrielle V. Calizo-Quimpo, and Gov. Carlito S. Marquez was furnished His Excellency, President Benigno C. Aquino III.
Recall Appointment, Deny Confirmation
But the 17 mayors of the 17 municipalities of Aklan approved a "Manifesto Opposing the Appointment of Mr. Alberto Lim as Secretary of the Department of Tourism".
The manifesto was sent to his Excellency, President Benigno C. Aquino III and the Commission on Appointments.
Among others, the manifesto pointed out to the "reckless and spiteful imputation on the unfounded state or grim condition of Boracay, and Sec. Alberto Lim does not comprehend the impact of his irresponsible statement to the whole economic well being of Boracay Island and the whole Province of Aklan.
Mr. Alberto Lim must resign from his post as secretary of tourism, if not, fire him. He has damaged the tourism industry even after a few days on his post. His further stay may increase the damage not only in tourism business but to the whole Philippine economy. /MP