DENR to remove illegal structure in Coron Bay

 

As part of its campaign to address water pollution and other environmental problems in popular tourist destinations, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources says illegal structures in Coron Bay in Palawan have to be removed.

These include more than 4,000 informal settler families who need relocation and business establishments built either on the water or encroaching on easement zones and mangroves.

Regional Director Natividad Bernardino of DENR MIMAROPA (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan), who spoke before a crowd of around 250 business owners at the Stakeholders’ Forum at Coron Coliseum on Tuesday, explains the agency has to do this difficult move to address high levels of coliform contamination in Coron Bay.

DENR identifies the absence of a centralized sewage treatment facility as the major problem that led to the deterioration of water quality in Coron Bay. Establishments discharge untreated wastewater while informal settlers dispose of all their wastes directly into the bay. Another source of pollutants are tourist and passenger boats emitting oil into the water.

“We need to decongest Coron Bay and ensure compliance to environmental regulations. We are appealing to the Provincial Government of Palawan and the local government of Coron to provide resettlement for the informal settlers who were previously identified as beneficiaries of the typhoon Yolanda relocation program” explains Bernardino.

DENR MIMAROPA created the Task Force Coron which will inspect more than 750 establishments, about half of them cater to tourists, for compliance to environmental regulations, easement zone provisions of the Clean Water Act, Water Code, and Forestry Code.

Task Force Coron has started the inspection last week and already found some hotels, restaurants, and dive shops atop stilts in Coron Bay. The Task Force is recommending the dismantling of these structures.

Bernardino admits though that Coron Bay is more congested and its rehabilitation may be more difficult because of the presence of a huge number of informal settlers who will need relocation before they can be demolished.

Coron’s iconic islands, lake, and rich marine resources draw more than 175, 000 tourists in the last two years. This has increased the demand for hotels, restaurants, and other services, exerting pressure on this small town’s becoming a problem for more residents and establishments.

Representatives of the local government of Coron, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Department of Tourism, the Philippine Navy, and the Philippine Coast Guard who were present during the forum expressed full support for DENR’s initiative.

DOT MIMAROPA Regional Director Maria Luisa Diploma says the department is also closely monitoring tourist destinations in the region. She said, “kung hindinatinaalagaanangmgaito, ‘di narinmasisiyahangpumuntaangmgaturista.” She said that they will now require all tourist establishments to have proper wastewater discharge facilities before they can get DOT accreditation.

Coron Mayor AjericoBaracoso, meanwhile, said that the LGU has already formulated a project feasibility study for the construction a P400 million-peso centralized sewage treatment plant and is seeking fund support from DOT and other agencies concerned.

Business owners, recognizing the growing environmental problems and their potential impact to business, also express willingness to cooperate with the clean-up of Coron Bay and convey their appeal to DENR and other government agencies concerned.

Francisco Fernandez, president of Calamianes Association of Tourism Establishments (CATE) sought clarification if establishments without proper wastewater treatment facilities will be allowed to operate until the centralized sewage treatment plant is built.

Bernardino explains that as an interim measure, individual businesses should set up their own septic treatment facilities or they can enter into an agreement with companies that can provide desludging and sewage treatment services.

Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer EribertoSaños appreciates the high level of environmental awareness of the people of Coron, but he said, “environmental awareness is not enough, we need to act to preserve the country’s resources.”

News

 

 

 

DENR removes illegal sewage line in El Nido, Palawan; prepares charges against owners of hidden pipes in the island

el nido

 

     The Department of Environment and Natural Resources - MIMAROPA Region on Saturday excavated from the beachfront of a hotel establishment in El Nido, Palawan, a  PVC pipeline illegally installed within the town’s declared easement zone.

     Detected through the ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey conducted by the Central and MIMAROPA Regional offices of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau,  the pipeline measuring six inches in diameter and six meters in length was uncovered in front of Outpost Beach Hostel in Brgy. Corong-corong. It was also found discharging black and foul-smelling liquid directly into Bacuit Bay, one of the province’s ecotourism sites undergoing massive rehabilitation. 

     To confirm the source of the wastewater, the regional Environmental Management Bureau used a green tracer solution into Outpost Beach Hostel’s last chamber to which the excavated pipe was connected. After almost 20 minutes, the green solution drained into the said pipe, indicating that the said establishment was the one discharging wastewater from the tank. The EMB shall be conducting further investigation to determine if there are other sources of wastewater discharge aside from the hostel. 

     Paul Sepulveda, one of the co-owners of Outpost Beach Hostel in Brgy. Corong-corong, admitted that they owned the pipe.

     Nevertheless, DENR MIMAROPA Regional Executive Director Henry Adornado ordered immediate removal of the sewage line as it violates provisions of PD 1067 or the Water Code of the Philippines, which prohibits any structures within the easement zones without permission from the government. 

      “The law is clear, and so was our appeal to everybody to cooperate with us in rehabilitating El Nido. We will continue to implement measures to find out if there are others who are doing the same and continuously disregarding our call to follow the rule of law. We will hold them responsible,” RED Adornado remarked. 

     The management of Outpost Beach Hostel volunteered to cut the sewage line but contested they were able to secure a discharge permit and the effluent samples taken from their sewage treatment facility passed the water quality guidelines of the DENR. 

     It can be recalled that the establishment was issued a Notice of Violation by the EMB for releasing wastewater exceeding the standards. Sepulveda said they are currently complying their commitments with the EMB. 

     Last year, the DENR created Task Force El Nido to spearhead the restoration of the famous island paradise found beset by environmental problems, such as encroachment of easement zones and high coliform levels in Bacuit Bay. The DENR, together with the local government unit of El Nido, has organized several stakeholders meetings to inform and engage both the residents and business establishments owners in restoring the beauty and cleanliness of the famous beach destination. Under the directive of Secretary Roy Cimatu, the DENR has also also pronounced to be more aggressive in enforcing the laws against anyone who would violate the environment.

      “The Outpost Beach Hostel’s continuous use of hidden sewage lines despite our warnings is a clear violation of the law and a blatant disregard for the environment that provides them livelihood. They are also putting the lives of tourists and residents in danger as they continue to pollute Bacuit Bay,” the director noted. 

      “We have no choice but to perform necessary actions to prevent them from further degrading nature,” he stated.   

     Meanwhile, the excavation site was filled with sand using the backhoe sent by the local government of El Nido. The end of the cut pipe was left open for sampling and analysis by the EMB. 

     “We have to remind everyone that we are preparing Bacuit Bay as Water Quality Management Area so we shall be conducting regular water sampling and analysis not only to Outpost Beach Hostel but also to other establishments to ensure they do not discharge untreated wastewater into Bacuit Bay,” EMB Regional Director Michael Drake Matias said. 

     Besides regular effluent sampling, the DENR and the MGB have been conducting GPR survey of the coastal areas of El Nido since March 18 to detect buried waste pipelines. They are calling business establishments to take Outpost Beach Hostel as an example to avoid interruption in their business operations.

     “You cannot hide them (pipes) forever. We will eventually uncover them so we advise you to remove your illegal sewage lines and comply with the laws for your own good,”  MGB MIMAROPA Regional Director Roland De Jesus stated. 

     The DENR, EMB and MGB in MIMAROPA vowed to impose maximum penalty to any establishments found continuously breaking environmental rules and regulations; and employ unified action to ensure environment protection remains as top priority.### 

 

 

Photo Releases

January 27, 2019. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources – MIMAROPA Region supports the “Battle for Manila Bay,” the 192-kilometer harbour that has become part of its home for decades now.

 

"Hindi po magiging ganito kaganda ang El Nido kung hindi ito nai-proklama bilang isang Protected Area."

-Vice Mayor Leonor Corral

DENR Palawan and CENRO PPC personnel joined the 1st SUBARAW Biodiversity Festival Parade and Float Competition last November 11, 2018 at Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

"Di po namin kaya kung kami lang sa DENR ang kikilos kaya nagpapasalamat po kami sa ating lokal na pamahalaan at mga partner agencies na kasama namin sa nakaraan at sa susunod pang 20 taon ng pangangalaga sa El Nido."

-Regional Executive Director Henry A. Adornado

"Napakasarap po sa pakiramdam na sa nakaraan 20 taon, nabigyan ako ng pagkakataon mapangalagaan at maprotektahan ang El Nido, ang ating kalikasan. Makakaasa po ang ating mga kababayan, ang DENR, na patuloy nating poprotektahan ang El Nido, dahil ito ay ating tahanan"

-Mayor Nieves Rosento

Themed "Nurturing shared responsibility for biodiversity conservation, the event celebrates two decades of concerted efforts of various stakeholders in protecting, saving and conserving El Nido

Taytay CENRO Pablo Cruz welcomes guests at the 20th anniversary celebration of ENTMRPA. "We thank you and reconize your roles in making our activities in 2018 successful and meaningful."

Turn-over Ceremony of EMB-MIMAROPA Regional Director

Let's explore the TAMWorld! A photo and art exhibit organized by Far Eastern University in celebration of Tamaraw Month this October.

Hataw Tamaraw!

Other Links

  • office-of-the-president

  •   
  • official-gazette