El Nido authorities on Thursday postponed the demolition of 29 houses along the shoreline of Barangay Corong-Corong and gave affected families a two-week extension to vacate the easement zone.
Vice Mayor Leonor Corral said the municipal government has granted the request of informal settlers after meeting with them prior to the supposed demolition date.
“We have given them two more weeks to do self-demolition. They have to move out during that period,” she told Palawan News on Friday.
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu had earlier announced that they issued eviction notices to the informal settlers whose houses had been built on stilts directly above the water.
This was part of the environment department’s campaign to clean up El Nido and other major tourist destinations in the country.
During the meeting, Corral said they explained that their move is “for the benefit of El Nido.”
“We are doing this to remove the eyesore in Corong-Corong Beach. In the first place, they violated the law when they encroached on the easement zone and dumped their wastes into the sea,” she added.
The municipal government allocated P925,000 in aid to help them in transferring and rebuilding their houses elsewhere and distributed it in checks ranging from P20,000 to P50,000 to all affected households.
“For those landless, we will refer them to the Gawad Kalinga housing program,” she said, adding that they allotted P3.488 million for the project in Sitio Caalan, Bgy. Masagana.
Corral said they are monitoring the dismantling activities by the informal settlers. “This is to ensure they are using the financial assistance for its intended purpose,” she stressed.
After the two-week extension, she said the joint teams from the municipal government, local environment office, and municipal police will undertake the demolition of the remaining houses.