The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) warned Friday that tourism operations in El Nido might be temporarily closed in two beach areas due to the town’s lack of success in addressing the discharge of untreated wastewater into the sea from two major outfalls.
Live streaming his visit to El Nido, DILG Undersecretary for Operations Epimaco V. Densing III expressed his disappointment on the state of the Estero de Magdalena and Estero de El Nido — two outfalls that dispense effluents in Corong-Corong beach and Bacuit Bay.
“Ito malinaw, sinabi namin sa incoming mayor (Edna Lim) pati na doon sa outgoing mayor (Nieves Rosento) na once na magsimula tayong mag-linis dito… ipagpalagay natin isasara natin temporarily,” he said.
Densing said the first outfall he visited on June 20 was the Estero de Magdalena which discharges smelly wastewater to the sea in Brgy. Corong-Corong through the mangroves.
His visit was with the El Nido Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO), Municipal Local Government Operations Office (MLGOO), and the beach tourism monitoring team of the DILG.
“‘Yong tubig makikita ninyo puro oil na. Ibig sabihin may mga waste na lumalabas galing sa kung saan. Hindi pa natin na-tra-trace kung saan. ‘Yon ‘yong unang pinuntahan natin, ‘yong Corong-Corong outfall na pinuntahan natin. Nakita natin at naamoy,” he said.
Densing said his advance team also saw floating feces and the murky water that comes out of the outfalls.
He said as a top tourist destination with one of the best beaches in the country, it is frustrating that El Nido has a problem with wastewater that could pollute Bacuit Bay.
But he said the problem is “rectifiable” with the local government unit (LGU) and the residents helping each other.
He also said something has to be done to properly dispose of the used oil from motorized boats because they impact the beach.
Densing said some of the residents they have talked to have related to them that even the fish they catch in Bacuit Bay are “greasy”.
“Minsan nakakahuli sila ng isda doon kapag niluluto hindi na raw nila makain dahil malangis-langis ‘yong isda. Ang langis naman nanggagaling dito sa mga bangka dito,” he said.
Densing said he will discuss the problem with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Tourism (DOT).
“After this trip pag-uwi natin ng Maynila, gagawa tayo ng recommendation. Secret na muna ‘yong recommendation pero alam niyo na siguro kung ano ‘yon,” he said.
El Nido officials contacted by Palawan News were not available to comment on the issue.