By Katherine Adraneda (The Philippine Star) Updated August 17, 2009 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines - Environment Secretary Lito Atienza called for a “total freeze” yesterday on the acceptance and processing of new applications for tax declaration that would cover properties in the resort island of Boracay in Aklan.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) would start this week the cadastral survey in Boracay. The cadastral survey is a major requirement to secure titles for lots in the island.
Atienza blames the proliferation of tax declarations covering properties, which is a major problem in property disputes in Boracay.
He hopes that the start of the cadastral survey is a step towards the resolution of problems hounding the famous tourist spot.
“We will be coordinating with the municipal assessor to stop accepting and processing new applications for tax declaration because this is the main source of one of our major problems here,” Atienza said during a recent stakeholders’ meeting in Boracay.
“Cadastral survey is one step we have taken so that we can have establishing points for what we have been trying to resolve in Boracay,” he also said.
The government has declared that Boracay is experiencing continuing environmental degradation due to unregulated development.
Atienza earlier expressed fear that Boracay is nearing its carrying capacity amid continued developments despite its already overcrowded state with various business establishments.
During his last visit to Boracay, Atienza noted the ongoing construction of various structures in the island, which he says is a “continuing violation, continuing degradation, in total violation of what the Supreme Court has already declared.”
“We need the help of all stakeholders to stop all these constructions because they will not be included in the solutions we are looking for, if they insist on violating the law,” Atienza said.
“We are trying to be reasonable but we will not allow the continuing violation of what has already been defined by the Supreme Court,” Atienza also said even warning investors that “unless we are able to correct what has already been practiced, you will lose everything you have invested if we lose Boracay due to degradation, anarchy in the building of structures, which should not have been built at all.”