The Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority Regulatory Office (TIEZA RO) eyes to work more closely with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the existing Water Service Providers (WSPs) in Boracay Island – the Boracay Tubi System Inc. (BTSI) and the Boracay Island Water Company, Inc. (BIWC), to institute more accountability and excellent service among water service providers.
With TIEZA as the sole regulator of water utilities, it prioritizes the overall satisfaction of the customers of the WSPs especially the tourists and sustainability of water management systems of the providers.
After the Office of the President affirmed that TIEZA is the sole regulatory body of utilities in Boracay, and other tourist zones, TIEZA RO and DENR immediately collaborated for a clarification on the previously issued memoranda with DENR issuing Memorandum Order (MO) No. 2018-04 dated 18 September 2018. The MO provides that connection to sewer network is sufficient for hotels with 39 rooms and below along the White/Long beach, and hotels with 49 rooms and below elsewhere in the island. Individual sewage treatment plants (STPs) are mandatory only for hotels with 40 rooms and above along the White/Long beach.
RO Chief Regulator Darren Fernandez explained that in the next few weeks, the plan is to harmonize rules and standards to level the playing field to replicate a truly competitive setting between the WSPs. He assured the public that they will ensure compliance of WSPs to local and national environmental laws and high water standards based on Department of Health (DOH) and DENR policies, rules and regulations pertaining to wastewater management in Boracay.
“A single regulatory body overseeing the water and sewerage systems in the island is expected to contribute to the rehabilitation of Boracay as both WSPs’ operational data can now be benchmarked to promote efficiency with incentives and penalties for failure to meet commitments. Competition in the provision of water supply and sewerage/sanitation services is expected to be more vibrant under this regulatory regime,” Fernandez added.
The RO’s deputization was underlined by the TIEZA Board during its Board Meeting on 25 April 2018, to exercise this power. “The OP Decision confirming TIEZA as the mandated regulator of water and sewerage systems in Boracay Island may have taken years to settle but could not have happened at a better time while rehabilitation efforts are in full swing,” Fernandez said.