By Jun N. Aguirre
Boracay Island – The Boracay Island Development Authority (BIDA) is a piece of proposed legislation now being heard both in the senate and congress. The senate version was filed by Senator Franklin Drilon last July 1, 2019. The lower house version passed it last year filed by Cebu City second District Representative Rodrigo Abellanosa, chair of the committee on natural resources, and Congressman Albee Benitez. It is supported by first district Aklan Congressman Carlito Marquez. Both the senate and the lower house versions are aimed at strengthening the sustainability of the Boracay Inter Agency Rehabilitation and Management Group, a management body created by Secretary Roy Cimatu of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The four-paged senate version highlights the plan for the national government to operate, administer, manage, and develop Boracay Island. It also aims to accept any local or foreign investment, business or enterprise, and to formulate and implement short- to long-term strategies for eco-tourism development. Recently, various chambers of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) in the Visayas have forged a joint resolution urging President Rodrigo Duterte to certify the Senate Bill No. 1756 as urgent. The Senate Bill, also known as “the creation of the Boracay Island Development Authority (BIDA), was authored by Senator Franklin Drilon. The lower house has a similar version of this by Congressman Albee Benitez. Signatories of the joint resolution include Donna Rose Ratilla, PCCI regional governor for Western Visayas; Edward Du, regional governor for Central Visayas; Ramel Buncalan, PCCI-Aklan president; Lawyer Joebert Penaflorida, Ma. Elena Brugger, PCCI-Boracay president; PCCI-Iloilo president; Ronald So, PCCI-Capiz president; and Roberto Montelibano, PCCI-Metro Bacolod president. Francisco Martinez, president of the Negros Oriental-PCCI; Vicente Lagunday, president of PCCI-Antique; and Neptune Pittman, president of Guimaras-PCCI have yet to sign the resolution. The joint resolution was approved during the Visayas Area Business Conference held in Tacloban City, Leyte, last August 24, 2019. “The Governing Board of the Authority shall be composed of the representatives from various national government agencies, provincial and local government and the local business chambers,” it added.
Implementation of the Bill is not expected soon as both the congress and the senate have yet to deliberate on the said law. Once approved, both the senate and the congress would still deliberate on a final draft.
Once it is finalized, the Bill will have to then be signed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Once signed, it will take several weeks for the implementation, as it is required that the said Bill be published in national newspapers.