Tourism establishments crowding the coastlines of El Nido have agreed in principle to abide by the municipal government’s appeal to retreat back inland to pave way for the municipality’s water and sewage system projects.
Town Mayor Nieves Rosento told Palawan News that based on a public hearing conducted last Friday, most of the affected establishments in barangays of Buena Suerte, Maligaya, Masagana and Corong-Corong, were amenable to the plan, but added they are still negotiating on the distance of the planned setback from the highway.
In 2005, there was already an existing ordinance for a one-meter setback to give way to some projects like the water system. However, during a public hearing, proposals had been raised for a 1.2, 1.5 or 1.7 meter easement.
Rosento said local government is determined to implement its water and sewage projects as soon as possible.
“Ito na ang solusyon sa isang dekada na nating problema sa bayan ng El Nido. Matutugunan na ang lagi na lang nating nababasa na reklamo sa Facebook, at ng iilan tungkol sa ating drainage system,” she said.
Since the final measurement is yet to be determined, figures as to how many establishments will be affected are not yet identified. Rosento nonetheless said it will only comprise around 10% of total establishments in the affected barangays.
Former SB Member Rico Fernandez also said he has nothing against the intention of the LGU, but insisted that there are things that need to be clarified first.
“Dapat malinaw, ano ba ‘yung pinapipirmahan para sa self-demolition? Sila ba ang gagastos sa pagsira sa sariling structure? Siyempre ginastusan nila ‘yan. Mababayaran ba sila sa kakainin ng gobyerno na part ng properties nila?” he explained.
Fernandez said the problem was created by the municipal government when it did not properly monitor the construction of business establishments before issuing business licenses or mayor’s permit.
Mayor Rosento said the municipality has no funds to undertake the demolitions and that the affected establishments need to initiate them voluntarily.
“But we can assist them sa demolition. Yung one meter naman nasa ordinansa ‘yan. Pero beyond one meter, hindi pa malinaw na napag-usapan,” she said.
Rosento said that she recognizes the concern of “just compensation” on the part of property owners, but pointed out that the issue “is also a matter of overall health concern”.
The municipal government is set to hold further public meetings on the matter.