BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has zeroed in on more than 50 establishments in Boracay which he suspected of either causing pollution or flooding in the world famous tourist spot.
Speaking during the opening of the National Task Force Mining Challenge in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Baguio, Cimatu said the 51 establishments were issued notices of violation. They are required to have technical conferences with the DENR’s Pollution Adjudication Bureau (PAB) within this week.
“They are required to submit their compliance papers to PAB or else they will be meted penalties of closure orders,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to close Boracay, and given erring establishments two months to shape up.
Cimatu will be flying in to Boracay either Wednesday night or Thursday.
He said many of the 51 establishments are suspected of violating the Clean Water Act, which caused President Rodrigo Duterte to call Boracay a cesspool.
“We expect the legal processes to start within the week,” Cimatu said.
Cimatu also said some of the establishments occupied the timberland or forestland of the island. Others built on the small creeks or tributaries, eventually drainong out the rainwater that form a lake on the island.
“Because of these illegal establishments, the rainwater has amassed and, for the first time last year, nabaha ang Boracay (Boracay was flooded),” he said.
“Many [people] there are saying the closure of the establishments in Boracay should not have been widely publicized as this would cause a negative impact. But what can we do? Let us just view this as an awakening,” he said.
Cimatu said the local government should also take responsibility for the degradation of Boracay. “There are no more place to build and they keep on issuing building permits,” he said.
President Duterte has warned that he would file complaints of serious neglect of duty against local officials in Boracay.
He said that they will revisit the Task Force Boracay of the previous administration, which called for a development master plan for Boracay. – Rappler.com