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'World's Best Island' Not So Great for Some

Development on Boracay has made life dangerous for indigenous tribe
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 3, 2013 7:26 PM CDT
Updated Jun 8, 2013 7:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – It was named the "world's best island" by Travel+Leisure, but life on the island of Boracay in the Philippines is hardly living up to its reputation for the area's indigenous inhabitants, who say they're being pushed off their land to make way for the influx of resorts and new businesses. And now relations between the locals and the $536 million tourism industry are getting bitter—and dangerous. Earlier this year, a 26-year-old youth leader from the native Ati tribe was shot dead with a submachine gun, and a security guard from a local resort, Crown Regency, has been charged with his murder, reports the Guardian.

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Only a third of the properties on Boracay have actual land deeds, so businesses use private security forces to defend their boundaries, and police say shootouts between the guards are common. The Atis won an ancestral land title for 2.1 hectares in 2011. But shortly after they moved onto the land, armed security guards from Crown Regency came and tore down their fence, claiming the land was theirs. Crown Regency's CEO says it needs to defend its property from the Atis, who "encroached" on their land, but denies the resort's guard is guilty of the murder. (Read more Boracay Island stories.)

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