House approves bill to create Boracay development agency
The House of Representatives on Monday approved at third and final reading the Duterte administration’s priority bill creating the Boracay Island Development Authority (BIDA), an organization that tourism stakeholders and island groups have opposed because it has d It was originally designed to become a powerful Crown corporation.
By voting 192 affirmative, 7 negative and 0 abstentions, lawmakers approved Bill 9826 or Bill BIDA. Under the bill, the government owned and controlled company (GOCC) which will be known as BIDA will be established to ensure continued development. of the famous tourist area and to continue the achievements of its previous rehabilitation.
The bill provided that BIDA would manage, develop, operate, preserve and rehabilitate the Boracay Island Development Area, which would include the entirety of Boracay Island and the surrounding islets, including Barangay Caticlan.
He added that the development zone will be transformed into an autonomous industrial, commercial, leisure, financial and investment center to generate employment opportunities and attract and promote productive local and foreign investments, while strictly prioritizing protection. and the preservation of the natural resources and biodiversity of the island of Boracay.
The bill also states that a Boracay action plan focused on the sustainability of investments and the balanced development of the island must be formulated and implemented.
The measure said that international standards of excellence in all tourist facilities and services must be maintained with the ultimate goal of promoting Boracay Island as an environmentally friendly and safety-conscious tourist destination.
It added programs and activities such as agricultural eco-tourism, lifestyle, medicine and wellness, local arts and crafts, outdoor recreation and other social activities such as family reunions and celebrations, corporate conferences and those having as a theme the preservation and conservation of the environment. .
Not like GOCC
During the hearing on the bill, Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores expressed support for the creation of BIDA as a regulatory body but not as a GOCC.
Earlier, BusinessMirror reported that several tourism stakeholders and island associations expressed their opposition to the creation of BIDA as a powerful GOCC.
In a position paper, 17 multisectoral groups with nearly 20,000 members, as well as the barangay captains of Yapak, Manoc-Manoc and Balabag in Malay, Aklan, said: functions, which duplicate and overlap with those already devolved and exercised by the line of the national government and the attached agencies and violate the policy of devolution and decentralization, and repugnant to the very essence of federalism advocated and espoused by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte himself. “
The groups added that they were in “ardent opposition” to BIDA GOCC “with powers and functions that infringe upon and deprive local government units of their constitutionally granted rights. [1987 Philippine Constitution] local self-government and the powers and functions, rights and prerogatives mandated by law ”, as provided for by the law of the Republic 7160 (Code of local administration of 1991).