DENR Regional Director Natividad Bernardino deserves praise and support for her tough stance in running after violators of environmental laws in El Nido without a hint of fear or hesitation. Of late, she has also announced that the Regional office will file cases for the cancellation of land titles which are void “ab initio”. This is in Corong-corong area where some of the best hotels and lodging houses are located and ironically, sitting on forest lands!
The Director should also verify reports that certain well-connected individuals in town have amassed large tracts of timberlands for tourism purposes. In fact, there is now a brisk business in the buy and sell of so-called “rights” to these areas. Bernardino should also investigate what was once a lush patch of mangrove near the entrance to the Poblacion which just disappeared as some smart businessmen found a way to dump trucks and trucks of filling materials to build what obviously looks like a hotel. All of these are happening right at the very noses of her own men.
If truth be told, DENR has gained an unsavory reputation in El Nido due to the perception that some of its unscrupulous personnel are in cahoots with these violators. Good thing DENR now has a no non-sense Director with an iron fist and enough balls to clean up the place. Otherwise, President Duterte himself may opt to close it the way he did in Boracay.
T-BACK ONCE MORE: It seems most of mainstream and social media have missed miserably what Board Member Pie Acosta is up to when she introduced what is now her famous T-back resolution. All major networks in Manila, save for CNN Philippines, bannered the proposal but with a tweak- that Palawan has banned the wearing of t-backs in our beaches. Nothing, of course, could be farther from the truth, as the intent of the resolution (which will be passed as an ordinance) is to prohibit the wearing of the skimpiest of swimming pieces in public plazas. It is not prohibited while one is cavorting with the waves but is not allowed while you are promenading in town squares. Unfortunately, BM Pie got a lot of flak and severe bashing from netizens who judged the resolution from the headlines of major networks – which got it all wrong in the first place.
AND BY THE WAY: BM Pie, a dear colleague in the Provincial Board, handled deftly the never-ending interviews of major tv and radio networks all curious to know the motivation for her resolution. As a proud product of Port Barton, Pie has seen it all – of tourist wearing skimpy swimwear passing by the nearby Catholic church going to the plaza to watch fully wrapped locals doing folk dances on stage. To say that she was stressed by the negative comments on social media is an understatement. As a politician, however, she has learned to roll with the punches and has emerged prudent and wiser. Pie has a long way to go in politics, but for the moment, she should savor the thought that no politician in recent memory, save for former Governor Joel T. Reyes, has hugged the headlines of almost all major networks until her resolution. That is a feat difficult to match!
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