DSWD Officer-in-Charge Emmanuel A. Leyco, together with Field Office VI Regional Director Rebecca Geamala, interacts with a resident of Boracay during his visit to Aklan last week to discuss plans to assist residents who will be affected by the proposed closure of the island to tourists.

DSWD Officer-in-Charge Emmanuel A. Leyco, together with Field Office VI Regional Director Rebecca Geamala, interacts with a resident of Boracay during his visit to Aklan last week to discuss plans to assist residents who will be affected by the proposed closure of the island to tourists.

Department of Social Welfare and Development  Officer-in-Charge Emmanuel A Leyco today announced that the agency has begun to put together a comprehensive plan of action to address the potential social disorganization that might take place as Boracay Island is being rehabilitated.

Just before the Lenten break, OIC Leyco and DSWD Field Office 6 Regional Director Rebecca Geamala went around communities in Boracay – specifically communities where DSWD program beneficiaries live – to speak with residents and consult with them on how the changes being implemented on the island affect their lives and livelihood. Social workers on the field are now determining the number of households on the island, and in particular the number of children, senior citizens, and other vulnerable members of families.
“We heard from the community residents themselves that they have fears that they will lose their homes and livelihood because of the rehabilitation efforts in Boracay on the one hand, and the various construction projects that are underway on the other,” OIC Leyco said. “They are hopeful that government will still assist the residents and workers should Boracay be completely closed.”
The welfare and development official said that the residents have also reported that they are also being threatened with demolition as local authorities have begun to post notices of eviction on their houses.
“Our Field Office 6 is taking the lead in determining the potential problems that may arise in the wake of the changes now being done in Boracay. As the lead agency for social protection, the DSWD must take the lead in addressing the issues of the affected community residents, protect them and their wellbeing while the environmental concerns are being addressed by the other national government agencies.  We must put the interests and welfare of the people first ahead of everything else, so the DSWD will coordinate with other government agencies to put together a plan of action for them so the impact of the changes in Boracay will not be wholly negative,” he said.