No stopping demolition of Boracay hotel – Roque
The government has not issued any order stopping the demolition of the controversial West Cove Resort on Boracay Island, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said on Thursday.
In a radio interview, Roque said he talked to Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año who told him the demolition of the resort hotel was ongoing.
“So there is no suspension in the demolition and this (demolition) is a priority because we all know West Cove became a symbol of all laws and ordinances that were done away with,” he said.
Roque underscored the importance of removing the resort from Boracay or this would “serve as a reminder that there was a time that all the laws and processes and even authorities were not followed.”
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources had canceled West Cove’s permit to use forest land for tourism due to alleged violations.
In Aklan province, Crisostomo Aquino, owner of West Cove, asked authorities to suspend the demolition of his resort’s remaining structures pending a decision on an appeal he filed in the Office of the President.
The resort ran a 998-square meter area under the Forest Land Use Agreement for Tourism Purposes (FLAgT) with DENR, but which the DENR canceled on Sept. 12, 2014, when it discovered the resort had been building structures in areas not covered by the agreement.
After the illegal structures were demolished, the DENR allowed the resort to continue operation but the municipal government of Malay in March closed the resort for failing to pay its business and other local permits.
The local government demolished structures in the resort and cut its power and water supplies.
Aquino decried the move, saying the demolition was not covered by a court order.
Rowen Aguirre, municipal executive assistant for Boracay affairs, said the resort was operating without business, building, occupancy and sanitary permits. The resort was also constructed on a no-build zone.
Aguirre, however, said the demolition was suspended last week due to the shortage of funds of the local government.
“We will resume when the supplementary budget of the municipal government is passed,” he told the Inquirer. —REPORTS FROM CHRISTINE O. AVENDAÑO AND NESTOR P. BURGOS JR.
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