PALAWAN, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has given the owners of 32 structures illegally built on coastal easement zone in El Nido town to leave the area within a month.
“We will give them 30 days to self-demolish; if not, we will ask the municipal government to do the demolition,” DENR Mimaropa Director Natividad Bernardino told Rappler on Tuesday, March 6.
“I gave her (Mayor Nieves Rosento) the list already. Right now, we’re verifying the exact names of establishment owners,” she added.
Bernardino said her office will issue the eviction notices next week to business establishments encroaching on the town’s 3-meter easement zone, as provided for urban areas under the Water Code of the Philippines.
This comes following the creation of Task Force El Nido in February. The task force has been ordered to clean up the town in 3 to 6 months and penalize erring tourism establishments for their mess. (READ: El Nido crackdown on erring establishments begins)
After more than a week of inspection, the task force revealed that “only 2 or 3 establishments out of 294 inspected were found compliant with environmental regulations.”
“Almost all hotel and restaurant operators in El Nido will now have to pay for their utter neglect of the environment,” Bernardino added.
Maria Socorro Abu, regional director of the DENR Environmental Management Bureau, said commercial establishments will be charged with a string of fines for committing multiple violations.
“We found these businesses either do not have environmental compliance certificates, discharge permits, permits to operate, hazardous waste registrations, proper wastewater treatment facilities, pollution control officers, or do not segregate solid waste, or all of the above,” Abu said in a statement.
Erring establishments face penalties, such as P10,000 to P200,00 per day for violation of the Clean Water Act, and P50,000 for failing to secure an environmental compliance certificate.
Abu said the environment secretary may also order the closure, suspension of construction, cessation of operations, or disconnection of water supply.
The department likewise formed Task Force Coron and Task Force Puerto Galera to check within March the environmental law compliance of businesses in these two other tourist destinations in the region, Bernardino said. – Rappler.com
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