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    VP Leni backs Boracay residents in fight vs BIDA bill

    VP Leni backs Boracay residents in fight vs BIDA bill

    Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday, February 16 said that the residents of Boracay should have a say in deciding the island’s future, expressing her opposition to the Boracay Island Development Authority (BIDA) bill currently pending in Congress.

    Robredo made her statement in a multisectoral assembly convened on the matter of the bill, which included business owners, fisherfolk, boat owners, tourist guides, photographers, and other people making a living in the island, where she said they must be heard in any discussion of policies governing the island.

    “Dahil kayo ‘yung nakakaalam ng isyu, hindi pupuwedeng ipasa sa Kongreso ang maging batas ‘yung BIDA bill na hindi kayo pinapangkinggan,” said Robredo.

    The BIDA bill seeks the creation of a Boracay Island Development Authority, a government-owned and -controlled corporation (GOCC) which will have authority over the development of the Boracay Island Development Zone. This includes the entire Boracay Island and surrounding areas, including Barangay Caticlan. The bill has been passed by the House and is now pending in the Senate.

    Robredo said that the bill in its current form ignored the residents’ preference for a regulatory authority instead of a government-owned and -controlled corporation handling the island’s affairs, the principle of decentralization under the Local Government Code which empowers local governments to manage policies and taxation, and the local opposition to the entry of casinos.

    “Sa kahit anong batas, kahit anong programa ng pamahalaan, hindi pupwedeng makikialam ang pamahalaan, sasabihin niya, ‘Ganito ‘yung dapat na solusyon sa problema diyan,’ kung hindi niyo nga kinonsulta ‘yung taga-dito,” she added.

    Robredo’s itinerary in Boracay Island included a visit to the Ati village in Boracay, where she received their declaration of support for her candidacy. The villagers, who were the original residents of the island, were forced to relocate several times as the tourism industry took over more and more land in the island.

    Although granted an Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title over a 2.1-hectare area of the island, the Ati community suffered from harassment until then-DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo intervened in their behalf.

    Robredo assured the Ati community that she will continue to fight for their rights to their ancestral domain and help them in their efforts to preserve their culture in the face of the relentless drive to develop the island as a tourist destination.

    “[P]aminsan hindi nakikita ng iba, ang iniisip nila ‘yung sayang na 2.1 hectares kasi pwede sanang mapalago sa negosyo. Ang hindi iniisip na ‘yung kultura niyo mas mahalaga pa sa kahit anong negosyo, na ‘yung inyong kultura, ‘yung pangangalaga dito ay bahagi ng ating pagiging Pilipino,” said Robredo. [End]



    Posted in Press Releases on Feb 16, 2022