Assessor for DOT says 60-day closure of Boracay will help save island

QUEZON CITY, Philippines (Eagle News) — One of the reasons why the situation in the Island of Boracay had worsened was due to the lack of implementation of existing rules and regulations by the local government units in the island.

This is according to President and CEO of Healthcore, Ms. Jocelyn “Joyce” Sacao-Alumno, who was one of the national assessors of the Department of Tourism (DOT) in 2015. She is also a staunch advocate of healthcare globalization also known as medical tourism.

“According to the law, the enforcement (of laws) should be done by the local government in cooperation with the Department of Tourism. Pero hindi yan natupad,” Alumno noted.

She said that LGUs there had allowed hotels and other facilities accommodating tourists even though these did not get any accreditation from the Department of Tourism.

In an interview in Net 25’s, ASEAN in Focus, Alumno said that of the 6.6 million tourists who visited the country last year, a third of this visited Boracay. This meant that more two million tourists were congested in the island which has a land area of some 10 square kilometers.

“Imagine mo kung 6.6 million tourists, yung 2 million napunta sa Boracay alone, which is a small island. So, lahat na ng basura, lahat na nakatambak na doon,” Alumno said.

She said that the President’s decision to declare a state of calamity in the tourist island could help save and bring back the beauty of the whole island.

Aside from Boracay, she also suggested the rehabilitation of other tourist islands like Palawan and Puerto Galera so they won’t have the same problem that Boracay is facing.

“Tama lang na ipasara ng dalawang buwan ng Pangulo,” she said referring to President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to close off Boracay from tourists for 60 days.

She also said there were no advance medical health care facilities in Boracay that could cater to the needs of the tourists visiting the area.

Alumno said that the problem in Boracay should become an eye opener to the other LGUs so they would cooperate with the tourism department in enforcing the law.

Alumno was tasked in 2015 to be one of the National Assessors of the Department of Tourism for the official star-rating of accommodation sector.

She has previously audited hospitals, clinics and hotels towards meeting international quality standards.

From 2008 to 2010, she also served as International Marketing and Communications Strategist to the Philippine Department of Tourism’s Office for Sports and Wellness Tourism.