'Last Stand for Paradise' steps up campaign to save Puka Beach and forest sanctuary

Boracay's citizens unite to save one of the last remaining tropical forests and beaches on the island

Puka Beach. Photo by Cara Lim

Boracay's Last Stand for Paradise campaign continues to gain followers and is planning to roll out further initiatives to save the last forest area of Puka Beach In Yapak Village, Boracay.

Local residents expressed fear that the sale and commercial development of the forest sanctuary will threaten the area's wildlife. The forest is home to the island's fruit bats called Flying Foxes.

Campaign advocate and Boracay resident Armand TJ said an eco summit is planned sometime on May 2016 to discuss solutions and further actions. "The island community is getting more organized. There is going to be a proper Eco Summit to discuss environmental issues and how to address them," he said. 

Puka Beach was reclassified by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for commercial development. Up until October this year, the beach forest sanctuary was set to be sold to Taiwanese developers, but the controversial sale did not push through. The campaign called Last Stand for Paradise is aimed at saving the forest sanctuary and beach, and is garnering increasing support on social media, with an ongoing online petition.

According to TJ, "there is a vigil every Thursday at Willy's Rock along White Beach station 2, at 5pm up to right after sunset. People light candles, island musicians perform drum beating, key speakers share their thoughts. Tourists come by and we tell them what's going on." 

"We are looking for alternative buyers to preserve Puka Beach," said Armand. "Right now, we'd like a law that states you can buy the property but you can't build on it," TJ said, explaining that the community has yet to have formal discussions with the proper authorities regarding the group's proposed changes to the law.

Published November 2015

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