More establishments told to leave Puerto Galera
CITY OF CALAPAN — Another 16 establishments would be ordered off Puerto Galera beaches just over two weeks after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) served the first batch of notices of violation to 14 establishments to vacate the prime tourist spot, the DENR in Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan (Mimaropa) said.
Natividad Bernardino, DENR Mimaropa director, said the department would serve the second batch of notices of violation to the establishments in Sabang and San Isidro villages this week.
Vicente Tuddao, DENR Mimaropa assistant regional director, on April 14 helped serve eviction orders to 14 establishments in the popular Sabang and White Beaches for violating the rule barring structures within 3 meters of the waterline.
30 days to comply
The establishments had been given 30 days to comply with the DENR order.
Bernardino said the notices of violation were served separately because she had asked for another survey of areas where violations of DENR rules were found.
She said using high tide as the point of reckoning in establishing easement rules was wrong.
The easement rule, which does not rely on high tide for measurement, would be expanded to cover the villages of Aninuan and Talipanan where there are also forest lands.
“There could be a third batch [of eviction orders],” she said.
She said environmental laws would be applied to all resorts in Mimaropa that would be found violating easement rules and laws against pollution.
She said she had given order to all field officers under her to strictly enforce the rules.
“They don’t have to wait for me to create a task force,” Bernardino said.
She said the DENR prioritized the cleanup of Boracay in Aklan, El Nido in Palawan and Puerto Galera in this province because these areas had the worst cases of pollution and violation of easement rules.
Task Force Galera is following the government’s lead in the ongoing cleanup campaign in Boracay.
The task force had started investigating businesses’ compliance with environmental regulations, including acquisition of permits to discharge waste, environmental compliance certificates and permits to operate.
Task force members were also investigating local government units’ compliance with hazardous waste registration, solid waste segregation and whether they had designated pollution control officers as required by law.
Improper waste water disposal and overcrowding of beaches were blamed for high fecal coliform levels found in five sampling stations in Puerto Galera from 2009 to 2017.
In 1977, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization declared Puerto Galera as a Man and Biosphere Reserve or a model for sustainable development.
Puerto Galera draws more than 300,000 foreign and local guests annually.