KALIBO, Aklan – The demolition of the 10 structures will proceed as the appeal to hold it in abeyance was not granted both by the Court and the local government of Malay.
The structures, which were found by the Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation Management Group (BIARMG) not compliant with the easement law, were demolished starting on Friday last week shortly after the Temporary Restraining Order issued by Judge Ronald Exmundo in favor of the protesting business owners expired on Nov. 5.
Over the weekend, an urgent request to postpone the implementation of the demolition was sent to the office of Malay mayor Frolibar Bautista.
The mayor, however, has not granted the appeal since yesterday afternoon.
During the hearing for the Writ of Preliminary Injunction at the Regional Trial Court Branch 7 yesterday, Lawyer Salvador Paolo Panelo Jr. said he was “shaken” by the task force’s insistence to continue with the demolition although “it grossly violated the rights of the people involved,” referring to the owners of the 10 structures which were the subject of the government’s demolition order.
“Yes, this is a big tragedy especially for my clients pero hindi kami susuko para humanap ng ibang paraan,” Panelo said.
Exmundo, meanwhile, ruled to give all the parties five days to file all the necessary pleadings after which the case, he said, will be submitted for resolution.
Panelo appealed for a gentleman’s agreement by asking the lawyers representing the Office of the Solicitor General to momentarily put the demolition on hold while the Court is still hearing the injunction case.
State Solicitor II Sheila Marie Sison and Senior State Solicitor Cecil Soto, however, said the government is working on a timeline set for by the Office of the President and that the urgency to finally correct the violations at the Bulabog area is most needed to fulfill that mission.
Meanwhile, Natividad Bernardino, general manager of the BIARMG which is the implementing arm of the President’s task force, said she cannot agree on the proposed gentleman’s agreement “because in the first place it’s ungentlemanly not to follow the law.”
“We have to show the government’s resolve in establishing order in Boracay and we have been fair enough in the enforcement of regulations here. Of the 52 non-compliant in the Bulabog area, there are still 10 who refused to self-demolish the part of their structure that is covered by the 30-meter easement so it’s no longer our fault if we implement the law,” she added.
Bernardino said Boracay Island serves as the model of the President in restructuring a damaged tourism destination.
“If this case drags on, this will become a bad precedence to other destinations that need major uplift and repair to make them sustainable tourism destinations,” she added while citing El Nido and Coron in Palawan as well as Panglao in Bohol and Siargao in Surigao Del Norte.
“We are now 80 percent complete and we are duty bound to finish on April next year which is the timeframes set for by the task force under the orders of the president,” said Bernardino.(With a report from Noel Cabobos/RadyoTodo/88.5FM/PN)