Informal settlers along El Nido coast to be relocated – DENR
MANILA, Philippines – Informal settler families living the coast of El Nido town in Palawan will be relocated, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said on Saturday, March 24.
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said in a press statement that the local goverment has issued a final notice to vacate to 24 families residing along Corong Corong beach.
The local DENR office said aside from encroaching on the easement zone, the informal setter community also directly disposes human waste to the sea, as these homes have no toilets nor a proper sewerage system. Cimatu said this affects water quality.
"You can smell that stench in that area. These activities have significant effect on the immediate area around the houses. Aside from the fact that they do not have toilets, they are also encroaching on the easement zone, so we hope to move them to a new location soo," the environment chief said.
The Water Code of the Philippines, National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992, and Proclamation No 32 series of 1998 prohibit the occupation, utilization, and construction of any structure within the 3-meter easement zone in a protected area such as El Nido.
Cimatu said the DENR is working with the local government to ensure a relocation site for the families as soon as possible. He said, however, that some families have other homes around El Nido.
"We have learned that some of the families have other homes around El Nido where they can go to. However, for some reason, they chose to live in these informal settlements in the sea. For these families, moving should not be much of a problem," he said.
Cimatu urged the families to be more responsible with waste disposal. "Firstly, they should not throw waste directly into the sea. They should segregate and dispose of their waste responsibly. Do the right thing," he said.
Earlier in March, 32 establishments were up for eviction for encroaching on the easement zone. Business owners were given a month to leave the area.
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)
In El Nido, degrading water quality in the town’s public beach remains a problem.
The DENR has listed El Nido as among its priority concerns, noting that the town's booming tourism industry has started to pose a threat to its natural environment, which forms part of the El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area. – Rappler.com
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