De Lima fears passage of BIDA bill will be used as cash cow for greedy officials, tells gov’t to let Aklanons govern Boracay


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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima is opposed to the bill that would create a government-owned and -controlled corporation (GOCC) to manage the famous tourist spot Boracay, saying that it is the latest attempt by the administration to take from Aklanons what is rightfully theirs.

De Lima said the Boracay Island Development Authority (BIDA) Bill, which was approved on second reading at the House of Representatives last Aug. 4 despite continuing opposition from local officials, national government agencies and different groups, could be used as a cash cow for some corrupt government officials.

“Make no mistake, this is an act of unjust taking driven by people who are salivating at the prospect of using the island and its natural resources as a cash cow to satisfy their personal greed, rather than the betterment of the residents. And it would be just the beginning if allowed to push through,” she said.

While the rehabilitation of the island, spearheaded by the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF), made significant gains in revitalizing the ecosystem in the island, De Lima stressed that “the national government should eventually return the operation and management of the island to the Aklanons, rather than now making moves to permanently takeover both the management and receiving the benefits therefrom.”

“While it is national government’s job to guide our local governments in order to reach their potential, we must not fall into the trap of governing in place of the duly-elected officials in the local level,” she stated.

House Bill No. 9826, which consolidated and substituted at least nine similar bills, provides for the creation of the BIDA as a GOCC with corporate powers that will formulate the Boracay Action Plan.

Under the bill, the BIDA has the power to “contract, lease, buy, sell, acquire, own, or dispose real property of whatever nature.”

“Under the Constitution, our local governments enjoy local autonomy. Part of this is the power to create its own sources of revenues. The proposal, as it stands, gives BIDA the authority to operate and license tourism-related activities, which constitutes the bulk of the income of Aklan from the Boracay island. This income is not only necessary for the operations of the Aklan provincial government, it is essential for the provision of services to the Aklanons,” De Lima explained.

The lady Senator from Bicol said that while it is just right to legislate the parameters for the proper management of the Boracay island, local officials should be allowed to do what they are elected to do in the interest of the local residents that they serve.

Kung totoong wala na ang tinatawag na “Imperial Manila”, hayaan na natin ang mga Aklanon pamahalaan ang kanilang sarili. Sila dapat ang Bida,” she said.

De Lima further stated that the push for the passage of BIDA Bill, which is a priority legislation of Duterte, only shows what she called as “the utter hypocrisy” on the part of the Duterte regime to campaign on the platform of federalism while taking away from the local governments the control of the local resource.

“This just goes to show that any moves by the Duterte group for charter change, in the guise of federalism as the cure-all for our nation’s woes, is but a ruse to insert changes that will only benefit members of their circle. Their goal is not to solve problems, but to make profit,” she said.

Nakakasuka na ang pagkagahaman at kawalan ng hiya ng mga taong dapat nagtataguyod ng kapakanan ng mga Pilipino,” she added.(30)

Office of Senator Leila de Lima
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Trunk Lines:
(632) 552-6601 to 70 local no. 5750

Direct Lines:
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