Last October 15, Aboitiz unveiled an artist's perspective of the Balabag Wetland Park (Boracay Wetland No. 4) development project with Sec. Roy Cimatu (DENR), Sec. Eduardo Año (DILG,) DENR-BMB representatives, and LGU officials.
From left: AEV Government Relations Manager Missy De Guzman, Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) Executive Director Krisma Rodriguez, AEV VP Reputation Management Malou Marasigan, Interior & Local Goverment Secretary Eduardo Año, AEV Government Relations VP Christopher Camba, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores, Malay Vice Mayor Abram Sualog, Brgy. Balabag Captain Jason Talapian, and PGAA Architect Paulo Alcazaren.
Last October 15, Aboitiz unveiled an artist's perspective of the Balabag Wetland Park (Boracay Wetland No. 4) development project with Sec. Roy Cimatu (DENR), Sec. Eduardo Año (DILG,) DENR-BMB representatives, and LGU officials. From left: AEV Government Relations Manager Missy De Guzman, Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) Executive Director Krisma Rodriguez, AEV VP Reputation Management Malou Marasigan, Interior & Local Goverment Secretary Eduardo Año, AEV Government Relations VP Christopher Camba, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores, Malay Vice Mayor Abram Sualog, Brgy. Balabag Captain Jason Talapian, and PGAA Architect Paulo Alcazaren.

Cover Story

Aboitiz joins campaign to redeem the Boracay wetlands

Franz de la Fuente with AE Team | August 13, 2018

The Aboitiz Group is giving the government’s ongoing rehabilitation of Boracay an added boost by partnering with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). On August 13, 2018, both parties signed a memorandum of agreement for Aboitiz to adopt and revive Wetland 4, one of nine wetlands scattered across the island.


 

Watch the Boracay Balabag Wetland Park flythrough video:

Download the Boracay Wetland No. 4 project brochure:


 

Led by Aboitiz Foundation, the Aboitiz Group’s rehabilitation and development of Wetland 4 is a three-year project that will convert the one-hectare lagoon into a “linear urban park”. A key feature is the establishment of a plaza, which has a cistern underneath that will serve as a flood management measure. All around it will be a boardwalk with trees and plants endemic to Boracay to rebuild the land’s biodiversity.

Once completed, the wetland will boast of three distinct features: recreational with a low-impact eco-tourism design; educational by generating awareness on the importance of wetlands; and experiential by allowing the local community, students, and even tourists to participate in the cleanup, maintenance, and protection initiatives.

The Aboitiz Group became involved in the project by request from DENR Sec. Roy Cimatu himself during a courtesy call by Aboitiz Equity Ventures COO Sabin M. Aboitiz earlier in the year. The Group brings its advocacy of promoting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to the massive inter-agency rehabilitation of Boracay, the “Best Island in the World” according to Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards 2017.

 

REVIVING BORACAY. (From left) AEV AVP Media Relations Maricar Bautista, BMB ADir. Armida Pullo-Andres, DENR USec. Rodolfo Garcia, AEV Chief External Relations Officer DJ Sta. Ana, BMB Dir. Crisanta Marlene P. Rodriguez, DENR Sec. Roy A. Cimatu, AEV COO Sabin Aboitiz, Aboitiz Foundation COO Maribeth Marasigan, AEV Media Relations Officer Franz de la Fuente, AEV VP Reputation Management Malou Marasigan, USec. Sherwin Rigor, AEV VP Government Relations Chris Camba, AEV Government Relations Manager Missy De Guzman, and AEV AVP Corporate Communication and Sustainability Dave Devilles.
REVIVING BORACAY. (From left) AEV AVP Media Relations Maricar Bautista, BMB ADir. Armida Pullo-Andres, DENR USec. Rodolfo Garcia, AEV Chief External Relations Officer DJ Sta. Ana, BMB Dir. Crisanta Marlene P. Rodriguez, DENR Sec. Roy A. Cimatu, AEV COO Sabin Aboitiz, Aboitiz Foundation COO Maribeth Marasigan, AEV Media Relations Officer Franz de la Fuente, AEV VP Reputation Management Malou Marasigan, USec. Sherwin Rigor, AEV VP Government Relations Chris Camba, AEV Government Relations Manager Missy De Guzman, and AEV AVP Corporate Communication and Sustainability Dave Devilles.

At the MOA signing ceremony at the DENR Central Office, Sec. Cimatu further underscored the role of wetlands in the natural cycle of the planet:

“Wetlands are one of the most important ecosystems primarily responsible for regulating natural water flows in our environment. They contribute to nutrient cycling, soil formation, carbon sequestration, and waste treatment. They are habitats of our wildlife, they provide fresh water, food, fiber, and genetic material essential for our sustenance.”

The project site, which is also called “Balabag Lake”, sits right across D’Mall, one of the island’s busiest areas. With Boracay’s reopening in October, the Secretary emphasized that an inclusive approach to the rehabilitation work is of utmost importance, saying: “All of these efforts should not only contribute to meeting our targets and increasing revenues. They must all improve the wellbeing of Boracay residents, especially the Atis who traditionally owned and took care of this beautiful island.”

 

The Balabag wetland circa 1981
WETLAND NO.4 THEN. Balabag wetland circa 1981 before urban development.
WETLAND NO. 4 NOW. Also known as "Balabag Lake", the wetland is fully surrounded by built structures. (Photo from Google Street View.)
WETLAND NO. 4 NOW. Also known as “Balabag Lake”, the wetland is fully surrounded by built structures. (Photo from Google Street View.)

I am sure that our MOA with Aboitiz, renowned for practicing corporate social responsibility and pursuing self-sufficiency, will result in resilience and better living conditions of communities. We commend Aboitiz in partnering with government in rehabilitating Boracay, the crown jewel of the country’s ecotourism program.

–Sec. Roy Cimatu
Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Meanwhile, Mr. Aboitiz said they readily agreed to be the DENR’s partner as preservation of the environment is one of the long-standing advocacies of the company.

The Aboitiz Group fully supports the thrust of the DENR and the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force to rehabilitate the island, in order to ensure the area’s sustainability and prevent further degradation of its rich ecosystem. With government’s support, the Boracay that we will co-create and leave to our children will be a community that is safe, empowered, and sustainable.

–Sabin M. Aboitiz
Chief Operating Officer
Aboitiz Equity Ventures

BORACAY PARTNERSHIP. The MOA was signed by Secretary Roy Cimatu, Dir. Crisanta Marlene P. Rodriguez of the Biodiversity Management Bureau, Aboitiz Equity Ventures Chief Operating Officer Sabin M. Aboitiz, and Aboitiz Foundation Head Maribeth Marasigan.
BORACAY PARTNERSHIP. The MOA was signed by Secretary Roy Cimatu, Dir. Crisanta Marlene P. Rodriguez of the Biodiversity Management Bureau, Aboitiz Equity Ventures Chief Operating Officer Sabin M. Aboitiz, and Aboitiz Foundation Head Maribeth Marasigan.

The adoption of the wetland also involves educating the immediate community about the protection, conservation, enhancement, and rehabilitation of Boracay’s natural ecosystems.