Boracay is intended for all Filipinos, not just the wealthy resort owners, Malacañang assured the public on Thursday, May 31.
According to Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, President Rodrigo Duterte wants to give back the island to the “common individuals” especially farmers who could till the land. He also wants Filipinos to enjoy all that the world-famous island has to offer.
“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 during the Palace press briefing.
He added, “If there are beneficiaries, they will be given land. The problem is we still don’t know the beneficiaries.”
Boracay is temporarily on shutdown for six months to allow the authorities to rehabilitate the island — which had become a “cesspool,” according to Duterte.
Roque also said no one can claim ownership over the 30-meter shoreline easement.
“It’s for the public enjoyment so that everyone can enjoy the beach . . . It’s called the public easement,” Roque said.
He noted that the Supreme Court had issued a decision declaring Boracay public land, referring to 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.
“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.