DENR assures due process in eviction of violators in El Nido

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The impending move was announced after the task force it created had already concluded the inspection of 294 establishments in Barangays Corong-Corong, Buena Suerte, Maligaya, Masagaba, Ville Libertad, Bucana, Pasadena, and Bebeladan.

“Actually, they will undergo due process. Although there’s a statement that had been told that 32 establishments will be evicted, their eviction will not be outright because there’s a process that needs to be observed,” Cayatoc said.

He said structures that have extended or are extending toward the easement and salvage zones would be sent letters to tell them their violations, and to ask them if they would sign waivers to self-demolish.

“Establishments that have environmental compliance certificates (ECC) or failed to comply with their previous commitments will be invited to a technical conference, where they will be asked to explain why they did not obey the terms and conditions of their issuances among others,” he said.

Cayatoc said depending on the weight of their violations, they might be given enough time to comply.

Some establishments have been found to have no existing pollution officers, which is important, he added.

“They need to comply, and they need to have pollution officers that can be trained to ensure that their operations are compliant with environmental policies. These officers will focus on making sure that their operations will not be harmful to the environment in El Nido,” he said.

Those who use generator sets in El Nido should make sure they are not contributing to pollution, and are following the policies of the Clean Air Act, and discharges are not violating the Water Code of the Philippines, he added.

“There are establishments that have been discovered without pollution officers, and they were listed, and a schedule for their training is currently being determined by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB),” Cayatoc added.

In the case of El Nido, agricultural and alienable and disposable lands have been “zonified” into urban zones of the Zoning Board of the local government.

Urban zones have four uses: agricultural, industrial, residential and commercial, he said.

“In the poblacion of El Nido, these are Barangays Masagana, Maligaya, Corong-Corong, and Buena Suerte. They’ve been defined as urban zones. In the Water Code of the Philippines, it states that urban zones should be at least three meters from the highest tide and are considered easement or salvage zones in Bacuit Bay,” he said.

Bernardino was quoted by news reports as saying that only two or three establishments out of 294 inspected were found compliant.

“Almost all hotel and restaurant operators in El Nido will now have to pay for their utter neglect of the environment,” she said.

These businesses failed to comply the requirements of environmental laws by not having ECCs, discharge permits, permits to operate, hazardous waste registrations, proper wastewater treatment facilities, pollution control officers, or do not segregate solid waste or all of the above.

Errant operators will be fined PHP10,000-PHP20,000 per day for violating the Clean Water Act and PHP50,000 for not securing ECCs.

Utter violation might even lead to the closure of their businesses, he said.-PNA

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