Palawan Governor Jose Chavez Alvarez on Tuesday said he is in support of the ongoing crackdown being conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) against tourist establishments violating the easement laws in El Nido.
Alvarez was reacting to the move Monday of the DENR Regional Office for MIMAROPA to cite an initial batch of 32 establishments for violations and ordering them to immediately demolish the illegal structures they had built along the town’s main beach.
“Pabor [ako], walang politika sa akin ‘yan dahil sinabi ko na noong sa araw sa kanila, noon pang 2010 when I was campaigning, sabi ko one day magsisisi sila na ginawa nila ‘yan sa dagat,” Alvarez said in a press conference on Tuesday.
“Ang beach walang may ari. Yung dagat wala rin may ari and for public use yan. Kaya ngayon sinisingil ko na,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez added that they have begun the construction of a P300 million sewage treatment plant for the town to ensure its proper waste management and prevent pollution in its coastal waters.
“Para malinis talaga ang tubig diyan sa El Nido, otherwise, magiging Boracay din ‘yan, magiging useless ang El Nido,” he said.
Meanwhile, El Nido Mayor Nieves Rosento, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Felizardo Cayatoc, and Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) Executive Director Nelson Devanadera apprised the provincial board during its regular session on the situation in El Nido.
Nieves reported that coliform presence initially reported in 2014 around Barangay Masagana had gone down. She added that a bulk of their environmental fees collected from visitors since last year amounting to around P27 million will be used for septage management and sewerage treatment facility.
“Hindi pa natin naabot ang dapat [standard] dahil kailangan pa natin ng mas malawakang pagtutulungan. Right now the local government allocated almost 27M because of this ongoing high incident on coliform,” Rosento said.