DENR orders 75 Coron structures demolished
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—At least 75 tourism establishments on the island town of Coron in Northern Palawan have been ordered demolished by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as the agency stepped up its cleanup drive in major tourism destinations in Palawan.
Natividad Bernardino, DENR regional director, said on Thursday that the establishments had been given 30 days to comply with the order.
The demolition orders followed the DENR’s release of findings showing high levels of fecal coliform in the coastal areas of Coron Bay, attributing this to the town’s lack of a centralized sewage facility and illegally built homes and establishments on the water edges and mangrove areas.
Roman Legaspi, head of the DENR-led Task Force Coron, said in a statement that the notices were for violation of the Philippine Water Code, which prohibits the occupation of riverbanks, seashores and lakes within 3 meters in urban areas and 40 meters in forest areas.
Several tourism establishments in Coron had been built on concrete stilts above the water.
The town proper itself was separated only by a breakwater from the sea.
“It is clear in the law that there should be no structures in these places,” Legaspi said.
The establishments were in four villages—Tagumpay, Poblacion 1, Poblacion 3 and Poblacion 5.
These included hotels, restaurants, dive shops, laundry shops, lodging and boarding houses.
Beware of con men
Coron is one of Palawan’s main tourism hubs, along with El Nido and Puerto Princesa City, attracting an average of 178,000 tourists in the last several years.
The DENR had already demolished other errant business establishments in El Nido and has begun targeting illegal structures in timberland areas.
Regional DENR chief Bernardino warned owners of tourism establishments to be wary of con men posing as DENR officials offering deals to exempt businesses from penalties.
“We urge you not to deal with people who obviously want to extort from business owners,” Bernardino said.
“The DENR does not authorize anyone to deal with business owners other than members of the task force,” he said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.