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Sen. Villar on Boracay business: Duty to nation above family interest

SEN. Cynthia Villar on Friday reiterated that her family’s business interests did not interfere with her work as legislator and government official.

She issued the statement amid reports that a mountain was flattened and a forest was cleared to give way to a condominium project and a swimming pool near her family-owned resort on Boracay Island.

Villar’s family owns Boracay Sands, a 50-room hotel, near barangay Yapak in Boracay. It is being run by her firm Vista Land and Lifescapes, Inc.

“I would like to reiterate and stress that all developments in our Boracay investment have long been stopped,” the senator said.

“As a public servant and as the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, I remain committed to protecting and preserving our natural riches especially the efforts to rehabilitate Boracay and restore it to its pristine environment,” she said.

Villar added: “My duty to our nation is primary, above and separate from my family’s business interests.”

The government has prohibited new construction on the island as it undergoes rehabilitation until middle of October this year.

Ma. Nalen SJ Rosero, chief legal counsel of Vista Land and Lifescapes, Inc., said that the firm has “complied with all applicable laws and regulations; and have obtained all requisite government permits and licenses in connection with our development in Boracay.”

“As early as February this year, we have slowed down our development works, anf have accordingly reduced the number of equipment and workers, in the area,” she said.

“Signifantly, the images appearing in the (news) articles do not pertain to our project site. The area subject of our development resort with existing facilities,” she said.

“Moreover, it is our policy to respect and preserve the natural topography of the land. To do so is not structurally sound but more importantlyn environmentally, environmentally friendly,” she said.

Rosero added, “We wish to assure the public that we are fully supportive of the government’s efforts to rehabilitate Boracay.” BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO

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