DENR: No stopping El Nido demolition
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has denied an appeal by business owners from the tourist town of El Nido in Palawan province to defer the implementation of its order to demolish illegal structures built within the water easement zone of Bacquit Bay.
Natividad Bernardino, DENR regional director in Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), said her agency had required 32 establishments around the bay to leave and demolish their structures within 30 days.
“Wala naman pong extension ang pagpapatupad ng batas. Kung may mga paglabag, kailangan itong aksyunan sa lalong madaling panahon (There is no extension in implementing the law. If there are violations, then these should be addressed immediately),” Bernardino said.
Owners of concerned establishments, represented by the Cottages and Resorts Association of El Nido, earlier asked the DENR to given them until July, the closing of this year’s tourist season, to demolish their structures.
“Our payback to nature is long overdue,” Bernardino said in turning down the petition of the association.
Bernardino said the 32 establishments included in the DENR’s list of easement violators had been served notices of violation for building their facilities beyond what the Water Code of the Philippines prescribes as a 3-meter easement zone from the bay’s high tide mark.
The DENR has undertaken a clean up of beaches in the region, including those in El Nido and Coron towns in Palawan, and Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro province, following the pronouncements of President Duterte on the deteriorating environment and dirty water of Boracay Island.
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu also directed the DENR’s offices to prioritize the clean water agenda.
Even as the agency is pushing for the demolition of illegal structures, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Felizardo Cayatoc sought cooperation from business owners.
“We are only talking here of a three- to six-month disruption, but the impact of cleaner El Nido beaches and waters will also mean better business for you in the long run,” Cayatoc said.
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