Cleanup targets 2,518 illegal structures
DAGUPAN CITY — Environment officials in Pangasinan province have begun clearing beaches in two towns and a city of more than 2,000 shanties and illegal structures that have mushroomed there.
Raymundo Gayo, provincial environment and natural resources officer (Penro), said his office sent out notices directing owners of 2,518 illegal structures to remove makeshift or permanent picnic sheds, resorts and accommodation facilities.
Half of the illegal structures (1,489) were built on foreshore areas and 982 on no-build zones (also known as salvage zones) in the towns of San Fabian and Bolinao, and in Alaminos City.
Penro said 45 structures straddled both foreshore and no-build zones.
Foreshore areas lie 5 to 60 meters between the highest and lowest tide line, while the 20-meter span from the highest tide toward land is classified as a salvage zone.
The biggest number of these structures is in San Fabian, which boasts of a long stretch of public beaches. The town needs to remove 622 structures from its foreshore area and 658 structures from its no-build zone.
Another popular beach spot, Bolinao, has 525 structures on its foreshore area and 216 on its no-build zone. Forty one structures straddle both zones.
Alaminos has 342 illegal structures on its foreshore area, 108 on its no-build zone, and four standing between the two zones.
In March, at least 300 beach resort owners, members of civic groups and local officials in four provinces of the Ilocos region agreed to clean up their waterfronts and correct environmental code violations.
They initiated these measures during a “Coastal Watch Summit” in La Union, following the crackdown on violators of environmental laws in Boracay Island and in Pagudpud town in Ilocos Norte province. —Gabriel Cardinoza
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