File photo courtesy of Butch Morato

The Philippine government is tapping financial assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to fund its rehabilitation efforts in El Nido and Coron in Palawan, a ranking official of the Department of Tourism (DOT) said Monday.

“The Department of Tourism through our central office and through the facilitation of the regional office, mag-a-access ng loan from the ADB for the rehab (they will access loan from the ADB for the rehabilitation),” Danilo Intong, DOT-Mimaropa regional director, told the Philippine News Agency on the sidelines of the first Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) Regional Tourism Summit.

“It would be a loan of the national government para matulungan ‘yong (to help) Coron at (and) El Nido,” he noted.

The official said the assistance will focus on solid waste management as well as the capacity building of local stakeholders to maintain a sustainable environment for the two areas.

“Inii-study pa nila ng husto ngayon kasi workshops go on para madetermine talaga how much would be ang ilo-loan sa ADB but definitely kailangan natin ng STPs (sewage treatment plants) and water supply sa Coron (They’re still studying it thoroughly to determine how much we’ll be loaning from the ADB but definitely we need the STPs and water supply in Coron),” he said, adding no specific amount of loan has been identified yet.

“Itong mga components ay pinu-pool nila and then coming up na with the estimates as to how much would be the loan (They’re pooling all these components to come up with an estimate as to how much the loan would be),” he added.

READ: El Nido rehab sans closure still viable: DOT

El Nido and Coron are two of the country’s top tourist destinations, attracting thousands of foreign visitors annually. Following Boracay’s six-month closure, the national government announced the two municipalities’ rehabilitation.

In El Nido, the Department of the Interior and Local Government last July reported that at least 3.4 million most probable number/100 milligrams fecal coliform level have been found in the water samples taken from one of the outfalls in Corong-Corong and Bacuit Bay.

The two shorefronts’ condition was also compounded by the presence of informal settler families, non-enforcement of easement regulations on outfalls, and unregulated dry-docking and mooring activities.

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