The Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation Management Group (BIARMG) has asked the mayor of Malay town to stop the collection of pontoon (floating bridges) payment from Boracay Island visitors.
BIARMG chief Natividad Bernardino sent a formal communication to Malay Mayor Frolibar Bautista on Thursday to stop the collection of PHP30 per person for the use of two pontoons.
He said the fee collection has yet to be approved by the National Task Force Boracay principals including Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing.
“The problem there is it did not go (through) with the task force’s deliberation and approval. That was the proposal of the local government unit, but they went ahead with it,” Bernardino told the Philippine News Agency on Saturday.
Though it got the nod from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Malay, Bernardino said anything done in Boracay must still be consulted with the task force since the island is under rehabilitation.
Bautista has raised the concern during the meeting last November 26 but was told to wait for the principals’ decision.
“He (mayor) was told to justify the basis of the rate,” she said, noting that the next principals’ meeting is scheduled in the last week of January or the first week of February.
In a separate interview, Bautista said the local government unit (LGU) has stopped the collection of fees on Saturday.
Of the PHP30 fee, he said PHP4.50 goes to the LGU while some are shared by Manocmanoc and Balabag villages and the private company owner.
The collection of the fees has started on Dec. 21, 2019, Bautista said.
“There were questions that it (collection of fees) was not approved by the principals so I stopped the collection of fees but the operation (use of pontoons) will continue,” he said.
The pontoon, measuring 100 meters from the shoreline, is used near the boat stations on the white beach. (PNA)