Bohol execs meet to identify Chocolate Hills structures culprits

Bohol execs meet to pinpoint culprits behind illegal Chocolate Hills structures

House sets own probe into Chocolate Hills resort

BUSINESS WITHIN THE HILLS Captain’s Peak Garden and Resort in Sagbayan, Bohol, shown in this August 2023 photo, has trended on social media after netizens called out the government and
its owners for allowing its construction and operation within the Chocolate Hills, a protected landscape. —LEO UDTOHAN

TAGBILARAN CITY — Government officials in Bohol gathered on Sunday, March 17, to find out who was to blame for the construction of the structures at the Chocolate Hills.

But those who attended the meeting were tight-lipped about the discussion led by Bohol Gov. Aris Aumentado


A source, who asked not to be named, said it was established during the meeting that there was a failure of coordination between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) and the local government of Sagbayan town, where some illegal structures were put up.


“The focus now is how to move forward,” said the source who attended the meeting held at the house of Aumentado.

READ: Bohol governor wants truth in Chocolate Hills development

Present during the meeting were DENR Regional Director Paquito Melicor Jr., Sagbayan Mayor Jun Suarez, and other local officials, Rep. Vanessa Aumentado of Bohol’s 2nd District, Board Member Jamie Villamor, chair of the Committee on Environment at Sangguniang Panlalawigan, and provincial legal officer Handel Lagunay, among others.

Officials of Sagbayan, a fourth class municipality, stressed that they really needed investors to develop their town and that the economic activities have helped them in the anti-insurgency drive.

Tourist attractions in the town such as Sagbayan Peak, Captain’s Peak Garden and Resort, and La Batiang Resort helped the town economically.

“It makes the town popular,” another source said.


It was agreed during the meeting that Captain’s Peak, however, should remain closed while the issue was not yet resolved.

The municipal government of Sagbayan revoked the business permit of Captain’s Peak after the office of the mayor renewed their business license in January.

Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. has ordered the creation of a special investigation team to determine the liability of local government officials responsible for the issuance of permits to private entities at the Chocolate Hills.

Chocolate Hills is the tourism signature of Bohol. The mysterious and topological wonder has approximately 1,776 hills that look like chocolates during the dry season. The largest concentration is in the towns of Carmen, Batuan, and Sagbayan.

The PAMB governs the protected Chocolate Hills. One of the provisions of Resolution No. 01, series of 2018, executed by the PAMB in charge of the Chocolate Hills Natural Monument, said the hills should not be altered or destroyed and extraction is strictly prohibited.

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Although these are private lots, under the rules, private property owners near the Chocolate Hills are allowed to develop their land but must comply with the policies.

TAGS: Bohol, Chocolate Hills

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