FORMER Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary Roy Cimatu has urged the agency to consider and rush the conduct of a study on increasing the tourism capacity of Boracay Island.

Speaking during the culmination of the Boracay Island Task Force (BIATF) in Boracay Island, Cimatu said that with the island resort now recovering from the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, it is a must for the DENR to recommend a new tourism capacity limit.

In 2018, Cimatu was tasked by President Rodrigo Duterte to close Boracay for six months to undergo environmental rehabilitation. Duterte called Boracay a cesspool because of several environmental concerns reported in the island.

At present, the DENR only allows at least 19,215 tourists in the island per day.

"The current capacity is actually based on the studies conducted both by the joint DENR and the University of the Philippines which has been done at the four kilometers stretch of white beach in Boracay. The study has not yet included that of the Bulabog beach, the back beach of Boracay. I find out that the Bulabog beach is now being visited by tourists and so I recommend that a new study should be done to determine the new tourism capacity," Cimatu said.

Earlier, the Department of Tourism, Aklan Provincial Government and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Boracay had called for a new tourism capacity for Boracay. (SunStar Philippines)