127 coastal businesses in Bicol cited for violations
LEGAZPI CITY — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has issued notices of violation to 127 business establishments operating in Bicol region’s coastline for lack of environmental, waste discharge and operations permits.
Eva Ocfemia, regional director of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), said she had arranged a meeting with owners of beach resorts and hotels, environment officers and local officials to address problems in these tourist destinations.
EMB records showed that the province of Camarines Sur had the most number of violators, with 40 establishments.
This was followed by the provinces of Albay, with 32; Sorsogon, 20; Camarines Norte, 17; and Masbate and Catanduanes, with nine each.
Ocfemia said DENR and EMB personnel would continue monitoring these establishments and call their owners to a technical conference. She said consultations and continuous information campaign would be done in each province to preserve local beaches.
She warned violators that their establishments would be fined or closed once they failed to comply with the requirements set by the DENR.
Ocfemia, however, assured tourists that the region’s waters had maintained their pristine quality despite the issuance of violation notices to erring establishments.
“In fairness, the water quality in [beach destinations in] Bicol [remains] clean and safe [for swimmers],” she said.
The crackdown on violators in the country’s tourism sites started after President Duterte cited the environmental degradation of Boracay Island in Aklan province.
The President, in a speech in February, called Boracay, the country’s top tourist drawer, a “cesspool” as a result of uncontrolled development on the island. —Michael B. Jaucian
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