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