The government agency responsible for rehabilitating Boracay said today that they need more time to finish construction projects in the popular island, as people complained about flooding caused by tropical storm Danas yesterday.
Photos of Boracay submerged in flood went viral on Facebook and Twitter yesterday and today, with some netizens complaining that the beach destination’s 6-month shutdown last year was all for nothing.
— Stella Arnaldo (@Pulitika2010) July 17, 2019
And it looks like residents and tourists will have to deal with flooding until the middle of next year.
According to Boracay Interagency Rehabilitation Management Group General Manager Natividad Bernardino, the problem is likely to continue because the island’s drainage system is still being repaired.
“The rehabilitation of the drainage system is ongoing and while the construction is ongoing, we will implement the mitigating measures,” she told The Philippine Daily Inquirer.
She said these measures include building temporary canals that would divert the water to the sea and help the floods recede faster.
Tropical storm Danas caused certain portions of the villages of Balabag and Yapak to be impassable because of flooding, reported Inquirer. The flood measured as high as three feet in some areas and even reached D’Mall, a commercial complex in Boracay’s Station 2.
Boracay regularly deals with flooding problems even when there is no rain. According to authorities, the flooding is caused by hotels and resorts that dump their sewage waste into the island’s drainage system, which was built to hold only rainwater, reported Manila Bulletin.
The government wants to combat the flooding by building an “outfall,” according to Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda. He told CNN Philippines today that the Department of Public Works and Highways is building this outfall that would drain the island of water in the event of a typhoon. However, it would take about three years for these to be completed.
Last year, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered a six-month rehabilitation of the island, which he once described as “a cesspool.” It was closed to tourists from April 26 2018 to Oct. 26 of the same year. This was controversial because it left thousands of workers unemployed for months.
Boracay’s rehabilitation is still ongoing, with the construction of main roads and sewage systems estimated to last until 2021.