(File photo courtesy of Teng Formoso)

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has urged the demolition of some 363 houses and commercial establishments in El Nido for violation of the coastal easement.

El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area (MRPA) officer Clarisse Pador on Wednesday said they have served notices to the concerned establishments urging them to voluntarily demolish.

Pador said the structures are within 20 meters from the shoreline and 40 meters from the mangrove areas and are in violation of Article 51 of Presidential Decree (PD) 1067 also known as the Water Code of the Philippines.

“We did the survey and maraming maapektuhan. Ang mandate ng DENR is to inform them of their violation. Wala kaming power to demolish. The local government unit (LGU) is tasked to find the relocation site for the residents who are affected,” she said.

One resident, who asked not to be named, claimed that 30 days is too short for a notice and reiterated that relocation was “not properly” discussed during the barangay council forum.

El Nido municipal administrator Raffy Cabate called the DENR findings as “exaggerated” and stressed that the LGU is working on finding relocation sites for the residents.

“Lahat ‘yan dadaan sa due process. Hindi naman kami basta-basta na lang magdedemolish kasi makakasuhan kami. Mayor Lim was informed about it and is in fact working on getting cadastral lands for them,” Cabate said.

Cabate also said that the residents are allowed to question the DENR findings provided that they will be able to provide land title or other similar documents.

“Lands that are to be released will be given consideration. Ang goal is maayos ‘yong residential areas at hindi doon sa mga lugar na bawal,” he said.

In a copy of Notice of Violation and Order to Vacate issued on November 14 by the CENRO, residents were given until late December to file for an appeal.

DENR MIMAROPA regional executive director Henry Adornado is set arrive in town tomorrow to have a meeting with Mayor Edna Lim. The encroachment in easement zones throughout the town is expected to be discussed as the department and the LGU continue with their “rehabilitation” plan for El Nido.

Early this year, the DENR spearheaded an initial salvo of its nationwide clean up drive on major tourism areas that led to the demolition of some 32 commercial establishments built too close to the waters of Bacuit Bay.


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is a desk editor and senior reporter of Palawan News. He covers politics, environment, tourism, justice, and sports. In his free time, he enjoys long walks with his dog, Bayani.