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MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court has stopped the provincial government of Aklan from pushing through with the P1-billion reclamation project in the 40-hectare coastline of Boracay, one of the world's best beaches and the Philippine's tourism crown jewel.
The high court granted the prayer of the Boracay Foundation Inc. (BFI) for the issuance of a writ of continuing mandamus.
BFI filed the petition arguing that no prior exhaustive scientific studies were conducted to determine the effect of the reclamation project on the island.
According to the high tribunal, the writ "permits the court to retain jurisdiction after judgment in order to ensure the successful implementation of the reliefs mandated under the court's decision."
"(A)nd in order to do this, the court may compel the submission of compliance reports from the respondent government agencies as well as avail of other means to monitor compliance with its decision," it added.
The high court also directed the provincial government, the Philippine Reclamation Authority, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) in Region VI to “cease and desist” from pushing through with the implementation of the phase 1 of the project that covers 2.64 hectares of the foreshore area in Caticlan, Malay, Aklan.
Also, the high tribunal directed the provincial government to conduct public consultation so that the government and the public can come up with measures to protect the environment amid the construction of commercial establishments in the area.
The high court likewise ordered the DENR-EMB in Region VI to revisit and review its classification of the reclamation project as a single project instead of a co-located project; its approval of the provincial government's classification of the project as a mere expansion of the existing jetty port in Caticlan, instead of classifying it as a new project; and its impact to the environment based on new, updated and comprehensive studies to be undertaken by the DENR-EMB Region VI.