66 structures near Cebu beach town to be demolished

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Regional environment officials ordered the demolition of 66 structures in the Cebu beach town of Moalboal for being within the 3-meter easement of the shoreline.

Thirty-seven commercial establishments who own or lease 66 structures in barangays near the beach were recently given a notice of violation by the Central Visayas' Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). 

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia told Moalboal Mayor Paz Rozgoni and Vice Mayor Inocentes Cabaron last Wednesday, December 11, that she wants tagging to be done in areas where structures are supposed to be demolished. 

This is to highlight which structures should be demolished and which should be removed. 

"This will include structures within 'portions'; tags or marks are supposed to identify which parts should be exactly removed," Garcia said. 

While Moalboal has not been identified by the national government as a beach up for rehabilitation like Boracay, the number of resorts and food establishments there has mushroomed as the popularity of the destination has grown.

Environmental officials previously named Puerto Galera, Panglao, El Nido, and Coron as next areas eyed for rehabilitation.

The Cebu provincial government said they would take steps to prevent the town from reaching the levels of pollution seen in other beach destinations. 

According to a SunStar Cebu editorial, the DENR had previously ordered the structures within a 20-meter easement zone to be taken down.

But instead of complying, the municipal council passed an ordinance to reduce the easement zone to 3 meters.

Cabaron had argued then that demolishing all of the structures would have reduced the tax collection of the municipality and displaced the livelihood of residents who make their living from tourism.

Garcia said she would meet the operators in the areas that are up for demolition on December 19. 
– Rappler.com

Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers Cebu and the Visayas for Rappler. He covers all news in the region, but is particularly interested in people stories, development issues and local policy making.