CATICLAN, Malay, Aklan – Hunger continues to strike residents and workers of Boracay Island in the fourth month of closure by President Rodrigo Duterte.

In its 5th humanitarian mission (HM5) yesterday, August 27, We Are Boracay, an alliance of victims of closure, together with Rise Up Aklan and Friends of Boracay, served 500 individuals of rice donations to augment their food needs due to lack of employment.

The HM5 was participated by faculty and students of Iloilo Science and Technology University, entrepreneurs, private individuals, and civil society organizations.

In a program held in Caticlan, Malay, residents highlighted their concern on demolition which goes day by day as the reopening of the island nears.

According to Olive Abañera of We Are Boracay, “it’s already hard to find food and eat three times a day yet, this government still demolishes us as if we don’t rights anymore.”

Data from Rise Up Aklan, a disaster network formed in 2013, says about 600 demolition orders were signed and released by Malay Mayor Ciceron Cawaling in order to clear up the wetlands from dwellers and small businesses. More than 100 households were already demolished by combined forces of the LGU, DENR, PNP and SWAT teams.

Residents cried as their houses were demolished. The LGU Malay did not offer any relocation to the victims.

These wetlands, added by Rise Up, are to be given by DENR to private businesses for rehabilitation and income generation. These are the Equity Ventures and Energy Development Corporation for wetlands 2 and 4 in Balabag village, San Miguel Corporation for wetlands 3 and 9, Lucio Tan for wetland 6 and JG Summit for wetland 1.

The mission was held outside the island after the Boracay Security Committee particularly PNP PSSUPT. Jesus Cambay blocked three times the civil society organizations in their humanitarian missions 3 and 4 and the recent NAPC inter-agency dialogue last August 14.

Friends of Boracay strongly condemned the acts of the PNP in violation of RA 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010. Section 19 of the prohibited acts stated that any person, group or corporation who prevents the entry and distribution of relief goods in disaster-stricken areas, including appropriate technology, tools, equipment, accessories, disaster teams/experts, shall be held liable and be subjected to penalties.

If proven, PNP officials and the Boracay Security Committee shall face administrative charges for preventing the entry of civil society organizations.

Residents thanked the humanitarian team in their help especially now that rice prices in the island are ranging from P55 to P70 a kilo./


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