Before the elections in 2010 when John Yap was a candidate running for mayor, against Floribar Sacapano Bautista and Joel V Gelito, the Boracay Sun interviewed all the three candidates and asked what their election campaign promises to their constituents would be.
John Yap’s main election campaign was centred on solving the waste/garbage management problem, enforcing anti-littering and no smoking campaigns on White Beach, and the implementation of proper zoning to allow the island’s carrying capacity and sustainability to continue, thereby ensuring that Boracay remains a premier tourist destination.
One year later, after John Yap became Mayor John Yap, we again interviewed him to find out if he had stuck to his campaign promises.
A new landfill was opened and had successfully addressed the problem of waste disposal at that time.
The anti-littering and no smoking bans were implemented and a market research poll showed that 96% of returning tourists believed that the campaign effectively helped to clean up White Beach.
Proper Zoning: Well that’s a difficult one to answer.
But, politicians worldwide make and break election campaign promises. Unfortunately that’s what most politicians do… However, on a scale of 1 to 10, we have to say that Mayor Yap has stood by what he said he would back in 2010 and, therefore, for what it’s worth, rates, with us, as an 8+ in his present role as Mayor.
Sure, mistakes have been made. Promises have been broken. And both will probably continue to do so. But the same scenario can be used and said about our President Aquino. In his inaugural address speech on June 30, 2010, the one statement that immediately comes to mind is: “If no one is corrupt, no one will be poor”. Well despite his stern efforts, of which I highly commend, three years later, we still have massive corruption, and we still have massive poverty.
I distinctly remember President Barack Obama appearing on TV before he was elected and promising the nation that Guantanamo Bay (The US detention centre in Cuba) would be closed within months and that all American troops would be home by August… That was August of 2009 that he was referring to, if I remember correctly.
During our second interview with Mayor Yap he made one particular statement that still sticks in my mind. He said, “Boracay is in my heart. I was once told that I exist to save Boracay, I am not sure about that, but I am not like a mayor. I am just a worker. I don’t have any agendas; I just have a great passion for the island”.
I guess we have to ask ourselves if anyone could, or would, have done a better job than Mayor Yap. Personally, based on the points above, I don’t believe so.
That having been said, and immediately looking to the future, there’s still an awful lot that needs to be done if Boracay wants to continue moving forward.
Let’s hope that our Mayor Yap can resolve the property disputes that are causing deaths on the island, stop the issuance of permits that allow building on our protected lands, preserve the Ati culture, and ensure that good governance will lessen the people’s problems, and, in general, look to help the people who look to him for help.
Mayor Yap, maybe you do exist to save Boracay!