LOOK: Boracay mountain flattened, forest cleared

Nony Basco, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 15 2018 11:03 PM | Updated as of May 16 2018 10:21 PM

Residents wonder why a forest is being cleared and a mountain is being flattened in Barangay Yapak, Boracay. ABS-CBN News

Residents wonder why a forest is being cleared and a mountain is being flattened in Barangay Yapak, Boracay. ABS-CBN News

Residents wonder why a forest is being cleared and a mountain is being flattened in Barangay Yapak, Boracay. ABS-CBN News

Residents wonder why a forest is being cleared and a mountain is being flattened in Barangay Yapak, Boracay. ABS-CBN News

Residents wonder why a forest is being cleared and a mountain is being flattened in Barangay Yapak, Boracay. ABS-CBN News

BORACAY, Aklan (UPDATE) - Almost three weeks since the closure of Boracay island, some residents of Barangay Yapak who have been passing near the Eco-village Multi-Purpose Gym are wondering why a forest in the area is being cleared and a mountain is being flattened by construction workers.

A security guard in the area, who declined to to be named, claimed that the forest-clearing and mountain-leveling work took place before the closure of Boracay, and was stopped April 26.

However, a video clip of a backhoe doing excavation work on the leveled mountain was posted by a netizen on Facebook on Monday, saying the footage was taken only last May 11.

The area, according to the netizen, is a forestland and close to the roosting site of flying foxes, a bat species that is vital to the ecology of Boracay.

A local tricycle driver, who also declined to be identified, alleged that a politician owns the flattened mountain area.

It will be reportedly used for a swimming pool and other amenities.

The entire mountain was once covered with trees, but now, almost half of all the trees in the area are gone.

A road network going to Costa Vista Boracay is currently being built. It covers parts of the mountain. 

In a statement, Vista Land said it has complied with all regulations and obtained necessary permits for the construction of its development project.

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"As early as February this year, we have slowed down our development works, & have accordingly reduced the number of equipment and workers, in the area," it said.

"Significantly, the images appearing in the articles do not pertain to our project site. The area subject of our development is a developed resort with existing facilities. Moreover, it is our policy to respect and preserve the natural topography of the land. To do so is not only structurally sound but more importantly, environmentally friendly."

According to workers at the site, construction activities go on day and night.

Richard Fabila, chief of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office-Boracay, said he is looking into the matter.

However, he said the construction work already ceased a month ago. He refused to give further details due to an ongoing investigation.

The environment and interior and local government departments earlier agreed that construction activities would be suspended during the six-month closure of the island. 

They, however, will allow minor renovation and upgrading of existing structures.