‘No ECC, no business permit’ policy irks El Nido businessmen

The “no environmental compliance certificate (ECC), no business permit” policy implemented by the El Nido municipal government has apparently upset some business owners.

Engr. Leonides Echague, president of the El Nido Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ECCI), said Friday that the new policy in the issuance of business permits is “vague” since some businesses are holders of certificates of non- coverage (CNC).

“Hindi maliwanag kung bakit binago ang polisiya ng local government unit (LGU) at Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Sana they should be specific, ano ba talaga ang nature of business na kinakailangan ng ECC at bakit nire-require na nila ang pagkuha ng ECC kahit ‘yong may CNC na. Does this mean kasama even mga maliliit na mga sari-sari store? We need to know this, clarify [nila] so we can also explain to our members,” Echague said, during the business forum in the town on November 23.

Although “saddened and disheartened,” Echague said some of them will try to comply all the requirements.

Echague said there are about 500 business establishments operating in El Nido that will be affected by the new policy being imposed.

“Sisikapin namin na ma-comply ang lahat ng mga requirements. We also understand and appreciate the unprecedented efforts of Mayor (Nieves) Rosento para maisaayos ang ating bayan, however, sana nga lang the LGU should consider the big effect of this if we apply his rule of no ECC, no business permit,” he said.

He said many businessmen are now confused on what to do because the deadline for the issuance of business permits is only between January 2-20 with no extension.

The members of the ECCI is now asking what will happen to them if they fail to obtain the ECC knowing it takes a long time to secure it from the DENR.

“If hindi namin makuha lahat ang mga ‘yan, ibig sabihin wala kaming business permit which also means we’ll be closed? Papaano natin ma-ca-cater ang needs ng mga turista at umpisa na ng peak season,” Echague said.

He said that business operators are not against the municipal government for imposing policies that will take care of the environment of El Nido, “but these should be reasonable.”

Imposing the new policy should need more study “to be fair to the other business owners,” he pointed out

He added that the strict policy should only be imposed on those who are “pasaway” (stubborn).

“We are all on the same boat to protect our town; we encourage the LGU to enforce the law sa mga pasaway. However, it should also consider those who are compliant. We hope for a win-win solution sa atin,” Echague said.

But Mayor Rosento, who was also present in the business forum, said they have to be strict in taking care of El Nido’s environment since it is a “protected area.”

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