AKLAN, Philippines – The local government of Malay and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) want to reconcile the guidelines for putting up sewage treatment plants (STPs) on Boracay island.
Lawyer Richard Fabila, Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) of Boracay, said there are ‘issues’ that need addressing with regard to Memorandum Circular No. 2018-006, issued by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, as well as Municipal Ordinance No. 307 series of 2012.
The circular and the local law are meant to address water quality problems on Boracay Island.
“We are going to align the circular with the local law to establish STPs and the compliance of hotels and resorts,” he stressed.
The circular is requiring resorts, hotels, and similar establishments with 50 rooms or more to put up their own STP. Those with 49 rooms and below can use a clustered STP or separate STP for their needs. (READ: Boracay rehab challenges: Treating sewage, relocating illegal settlers)
Fabila said they have to consider also which establishments will shoulder the cost of construction and maintenance for clustered STPs.
“There is a common denominator in DENR circular and the local ordinance is the unavailability of sewer system network,” he said.
Fabila added, “Walang madadaanan ang ating mga pipelines, whether we connect to sewer lines or construct STPs. Kailangan hanapin natin ang mga dating alleys to allow access for the sewer or water lines.”
(The pipelines have nowhere to pass through, whether we connect to sewer lines or construct STPs. We need to find the older alleys to allow access for the sewer or water lines.)
Compliance nets permits
The agency is also studying the ‘no compliance, no permits to operate’ for non-compliant establishments as part of circular guidelines.
Under the local ordinance, all commercial establishments, buildings, facilities, hotels, lodging houses, and other establishments providing accommodations with more than 20 rooms, facilities and structures located more than 61 meters from the nearest canal are require to construct an STP or connect to any available sewer pipeline.
Establishments within the 61-meter zone but below the available sewer pipeline or where connection is highly improbable because of elevation are required to construct and maintain a standard septic tank.
Lodging houses and other establishments with less than 20 rooms and facilities located more than 61 meters from any available sewer pipeline will also require a standard septic tank.
The compliant establishments will be issued a Wastewater Management Compliance Certificate as a pre-requisite for business permits.
Fabila said the agency is also looking for long-term solutions for the islands’ environmental woes to avert closure in the future.
He noted that DENR is decommissioning the sewer lines in Sitio Sinagpa and Diniwid in Barangay Balabag before September 30. – Rappler.com