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Tourism firms claim to operate legally

Member resorts of the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) in Boracay are in compliance with all government environmental laws and possess the necessary government permits to operate.

In a surprise visit early this week, PTAA president Marlene Dado Jante said officials of the 20 member resorts discussed with them during individual meetings their compliance with Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) requirements while at the same time showed pertinent documents needed for their operations.

“What was clear from our visit is that our members have been strictly adhering to the law. This makes our case against a complete shutdown of the island even stronger. We have always adhered to the fact that those with no violations should be allowed to continue operating,” Jante said.

PTAA member resorts operating in Boracay include 7 Stones, Astoria, Boracay Mandarin, Boracay Ocean Beach Resort, Boracay Tropics, Club Haven, Crown Regency, Discovery Shores, Hennan, Island Inn, La Carmela, Le Soleil De Boracay, Microtel, Patio Pacific, Red Coconut, Savoy, Soffia, The District, The Tides, and Two Seasons.

Most of the member resorts of the association started operations around 10 years ago when Boracay started getting international attention as one of the best beaches in the world.

The oldest among members are Red Coconut which started operations in 1985 along with Patio Pacific at 21 years old together with Le Soleil and Hennan at 20 years old. The newest resort member of the PTAA in Boracay is the Megaworld owned Savoy which only started operations last year.

The 20 member resorts have a combined room capacity of 3,139 with Astoria, Patio Pacific, and Discovery shores all in the middle of expanding operations to add 206, 29, and 11 more rooms respectively.

During the visit, Jante together with executive vice president Patty Chiong and vice president for inbound Danilo Cerdeña found out the resorts currently have a combined staffing of close to 2,400 officials and employees.

“Shutting down the entire island would send the wrong message. Our members, all these years have gone to great lengths to protect their reputation. If Boracay is closed, we are telling the world that all these resorts have constantly violated government laws,” Jante said.

She added: “Although our members there are already bracing for the worst, we do hope the government would consider the number of Filipinos who would have no means of livelihood and the families that depend on them.”

The member resorts told the PTAA that the DENR have inspected them at least once with the exception of Boracay Ocean Beach Resort which has not been inspected yet.

From the visits, only 7 Stones has a minor concern as the DENR, using cadastral surveying for the first time, found that it has not met the 30 meters distance from the shoreline requirement. However, the resort has claimed that it has an environmental clearance certificate issued that proves it has met the requirement.

Then there was Soffia which now is in the process of building two holding tanks after the DENR recommended for them to have one and Patio Pacific which moved its bar near its poolside to comply with the road space requirement.

For the past several months, all the PTAA member resorts have been posting at least 80 percent occupancy rate on their properties.

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