70 Camiguin resort workers to lose jobs due to dispute between owner, LGU
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY –– Some 70 workers in the tourism industry in Mambajao, Camiguin stand to lose their jobs if the legal dispute between a resort owner and the local government drags on.
The resort workers are employed with the popular Bahay
Bakasyunan sa Camiguin (BBC) located in Barangay Balbagon of Mambajao town.
The Inquirer checked with the resort and found that it has temporarily stopped accepting guests and event bookings since last week, although the workers have been retained, for now, to do maintenance tasks.
A worker said they were hoping the tension between the resort and the Mambajao local government is resolved so they could get back into full operation, and be assured of keeping their jobs.
The dispute started on May 6, 2019, when then Mambajao mayor and now Camiguin governor Jurdin Jesus Romualdo ordered the closure of BBC for alleged violation of environmental laws.
Romualdo cited an April 22, 2019 municipal health office report that detailed the improper handling by BBC of its biodegradable and liquid wastes.
BBC owner Suzette Chan Good went to court to stop the closure, eventually obtaining an injunction that held at bay Romualdo’s order.
Good has accused Romualdo of harboring political motives in issuing the closure order. She said that it only came out after she liked and commented on a social media post of a lawyer who challenged the bid of Romualdo’s son for Mambajao mayor.
Saying Romualdo abused his authority, Good also filed a complaint against him before the Ombudsman.
Two weeks after the closure order, the Environmental Management Bureau inspected the BBC resort and found some violations in two conditions for the grant of its Environmental Compliance Certificate.
On November 7, 2019, EMB cleared BBC, after paying an administrative fine of P20,000 and “after having substantially complied” with the ECC conditions.
On January 17, the Mambajao Regional Trial Court Branch 28 upheld the legality of Romualdo’s order and lifted its earlier injunction against the closure of BBC.
In his ruling, judge Bonifacio Macabaya said the local government’s 2019 closure order was within its inherent powers.
The court also said that due process was accorded to the resort owner before the issuance of the closure order.
A source privy to the dispute said what the BBC could do for now is file for a renewal of its business permit, and be subjected to the regulatory inspections, including on its waste management measures./lzb
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