BORACAY ISLAND, Malay, Aklan–Foreign nationals and non-Aklanon tourists entering Boracay Island will be charged with new environmental fees after the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of Aklan approved the Malay municipal ordinance imposing the new charges.
Municipal Ordinance No. 431, approved on November 9, 2020, by the SP Aklan, increases the existing environmental fees and imposes P300 for foreign tourists and P150 for non-Aklanon tourists.
Councilor Maylynn Aguirre Graf said the mandatory imposition was “necessary for the preservation of Boracay Island.”
“It is an indispensable revenue-generating project for the local government of Malay, Aklan, and provides funding for tourism infrastructure and helps address environmental and tourism concerns,” she said.
A foreign or domestic tourist used to pay P75 as environmental fee as stipulated in Municipal Ordinance No. 230, series of 2005.
“This, unfortunately, is no longer enough to support the needs of Boracay,” Graf said, adding, “With the mounting impact of tourist arrivals to the island, the new ordinance is crucial.”
The new environmental fee is on top of the P100 terminal fee imposed at Caticlan and Cagban (Boracay) ports for foreign tourists and non-resident Aklanons by the provincial government of Aklan.
Fees collected at Caticlan jetty port will be shared by the provincial government of Aklan and LGU Malay in accordance with the conditions of a memorandum of agreement. Barangay Caticlan will also get its share of the environmental fees from LGU Malay.
The ordinance exempts Aklanons and returning Aklanons (balikbayans) as well as their children and grandchildren, including persons 12 years old and below, from the payment of the environmental fee.
A 20 percent discount is also given to students, persons with disabilities, and Filipino senior citizens.
The ordinance specifically mentions a penalty for misrepresentation as an Aklanon, with violators fined P2,500 and possibly facing legal charges.
Aside from the new environmental fee, the LGU Malay also increased the terminal fee at Tabon port (Caticlan) from P50 to P100.
Graf said the current Tabon terminal fee is “too small” to sustain the operations of Tabon Port (Caticlan), the alternative gateway to Boracay Island during habagat season and inclement weather.
Aklanons, Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police personnel on official mission or assignment, Philippine Postal Corporation employees delivering mail, persons with disabilities 60 years old and above, and persons 12 years old and below, are exempted to pay the Tabon port terminal fee under Municipal Ordinance 2020-430.
All terminal fees in Tabon port are solely deposited to the general fund of LGU Malay but may be shared with the local government unit of Barangay Caticlan.
Misrepresentation to avail of the exemption will be penalized by LGU Malay with a fine of P2,500.
Senior citizens, students, and persons with disabilities below 60 years old may avail of the 20 percent in the payment of the Tabon port terminal fee./(Boy Ryan Zabal/INews-Aklan/Boracay Bureau)