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DENR: Stiff fines, raps for Boracay polluters

Environment secretary says business owners face criminal cases for ‘blatant disregard’ of closure orders
By: - Correspondent / @melvingasconINQ
/ 06:20 AM May 31, 2018

BEACH PATROL Policemen patrol Boracay’s beach at dusk, reminding residents to observe curfew hours during the island’s six-month rehabilitation.—LYN RILLON

Owners of establishments found polluting the waters of Boracay Island with their illegal sewage lines will pay a hefty penalty, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said on Wednesday.

He issued the warning after workers tapped for the island’s cleanup found 26 pipes from 16 establishments that were said to be illegally draining wastewater into the sea.

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“We will not hesitate to file appropriate charges against these erring establishments and base these charges on all the violations we can possibly identify against them, with maximum penalty, for contributing to the deterioration of Boracay,” Cimatu said in a statement.

P200,000 daily fine

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He said owners of structures with illegal sewage pipelines could be held liable for violating Republic Act No. 9275, or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004.

Under the law, violators, upon the recommendation of the Pollution Adjudication Board, can be fined not more than P200,000 for every day of violation, starting from the day the pipelines were installed.

Cimatu said he could likewise issue a closure order on erring establishments, or file criminal charges against their owners, for “blatant disregard” of closure orders and imposition of penalties.

Since May 25, about 100 trainees from the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division dug up a total of 26 illegal pipes along Boracay’s three-kilometer white sand beach.

Two establishments, Dive Gurus and Sand Bar, with two pipes each, had been issued notices of violation after water sampling by the Environmental Management Bureau  confirmed these were discharging untreated wastewater, Cimatu said.

PIPE HUNT A team from the environment department in Boracay uses a ground-penetrating radar device to look for pipes discharging dirty water into the sea.—NESTOR BURGOS JR.

Illegal pipelines

Illegal sewage pipelines were also traced to be emanating from the following establishments: three pipes from Hoy Panga, and a pipe each from Water Colors, La Fiesta and Mañana Mexican Cuisine.

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Other pipes were found at the following locations, the sources of which had yet to be traced: two pipes in front of Dive Gurus; two at Ambassador in Paradise; and pipelines near the sewer manhole at Ocean Club/Jungco Corp., at Bamboo Bungalows, between Blue Waves Beach House and Discovery Shores, and at the boundary of Henann Prime and La Brisas de Boracay.

Authorities have yet to identify the sources of three illegal pipelines in front of Lishui Chinese restaurant, two pipes leading to the beach at Henann Regency, and a pipeline in front of the tiangge (marketplace) area, one connected to the culvert and one in front of The Lind.

The erring establishments will be penalized once other sources of illegal connections have been traced and verified, Cimatu said.

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TAGS: Boracay cleanup, Boracay closure, DENR, environmental laws, Pollution, Roy Cimatu
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