DENR serves CDO vs 10 estabs polluting El Nido, Coron waters

CDO in El Nido

CDO

   The Department of Environment and Natural Resources served recently Cease and Desist Orders against business establishments found violating Clean Water Act and contributing to the failing water quality of Bacuit Bay in El Nido and Coron Bay in Coron, two of the country’s prime tourist destinations undergoing massive rehabilitation.

   The CDO stated that the hotels have discharged wastewater that greatly exceeded the allowable DENR effluent standards, which is a violation of Republic Act 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004.

   Ordered to cease and desist from undertaking any activity and/or operating machines and equipment generating pollution were five establishments in El Nido, namely View Deck Cottages, Lagun Hotel, Spin Designer Hotel, La Casa Teresa Tourist Inn, Inc., and Mansion Buenavista Guest House.

   The wastewater of these hotels, the CDO further stated, drains to Bacuit Bay through Masagana, Buena Suerte, Maligaya and Corong-corong outfalls, which were likewise recorded with soaring fecal coliform count.

   As this develops, Secretaries Roy Cimatu (DENR), Eduardo Año (Department of the Interior and Local Government) and Bernadette Romulo-Puyat (Department of Tourism) announced on August 1 that while El Nido shall remain open during its rehabilitation, a swimming ban shall be imposed on selected areas in Bacuit Bay particularly those near the aforementioned outfalls.

   At present, the identified beach areas are cordoned off and signages are installed to remind the public of the no swimming policy.

   Meanwhile in Coron, the DENR also served CDO against Busuanga Sea Dive Resort, Corto Del Mar, Coron Gateway Hotel, Sophia’s Garden Resort, and Pearl Vista De Coron Resort.

   Similarly, these hotels were found to have released wastewater into Coron Bay, contributing to the presence of high coliform count in some portions of it.

   Coron and Bacuit Bays are two significant bodies of water identified as Class SB or suitable for ecotourism and recreational activities, such as bathing, swimming and skin diving. Unfortunately, various factors, such as encroachment of easement zones and waterways by business structures and households, degrade the quality of these water bodies, and keep the public from enjoying their most beneficial use.

   “Makikita po natin na kagagawan din ng tao kung bakit marumi ang ating mga katubigan at hindi natin ito napapakinabangan ng husto,” DENR MIMAROPA Regional Executive Director Henry Adornado stated.

   “Kung tao ang dahilan, tao rin ang makakagawa ng paraan para malinis ang ating karagatan. At gagawin natin ‘yan sa pagpapatupad ng batas sa sinuman napatunayang lumapastangan sa ating kapaligiran, tulad nga ng paghahain nitong mga CDO,” he remarked.

   Besides enforcement of environmental laws, other measures are put in place to save problematic water areas. In 2016, Coron Bay was designated as a Water Quality Management Area (WQMA), an integrated water quality management system designed to protect and save bodies of water through the collaborative efforts of the government and various stakeholders.

   Bacuit Bay, on the other hand, is undergoing preparations for its establishment as WQMA. EMB MIMAROPA has conducted this year four orientation meetings so far, on January 29, March 27, May 29, and recently last August 2, to orient stakeholders on the stages of establishing a WQMA as well as the water quality status of Bacuit Bay.

   “We have to start at educating our stakeholders on their duties in protecting the environment, and the accompanying sanctions should they fail to fulfill such,” EMB MIMAROPA Regional Director Michael Drake Matias said.

   “We hope that the public, especially the business sector, would understand that what we are doing, the stakeholders forum as well as the issuance of the CDO against erring establishments, form part of our shared responsibility to protect nature and preserve it for future generations,” he concluded.

   The CDO was served and implemented by a team from EMB MIMAROPA, PENRO Palawan, CENRO Taytay, CENRO Coron, and El Nido Protected Area Management Office, assisted by the Municipal Governments of El Nido and Coron. Part of the implementation included posting of a public notice on the violation of the concerned establishment and sealing of all its water lines and facilities to prevent it from releasing wastewater. (With reports and photos from EMB MIMAROPA and El Nido PAO) ###

 

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apprehension

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has vowed to do everything in his power to protect workers of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) from “fearless, cunning and greedy” individuals who destroy the environment for their own selfish interests.

Cimatu made the promise as he condemned “in the strongest sense of the word” the brutal killing of DENR forest ranger BienvenidoVeguilla Jr. by suspected illegal loggers in El Nido, Palawan recently.

“I will never allow another crime such as the killing of Mr. Veguilla to happen to any of my people,” the former Armed Forces chief said during a budget hearing held at the House of Representatives last Friday.

“This incident shows how greed and disregard for our laws can have appalling consequences on people and our society,” Cimatu added.

Reports reaching the DENR central office in Quezon City showed that Veguilla—together with fellow forest ranger JenuelCasel, forest extension officer HersonCaliao, and park rangers Marvin Flamiano, Godensio Caber and NorlitoJongay—were conducting a forest patrol in the afternoon of Sept. 4 in an area covered by the National Greening Program when they heard the sound of a chainsaw as they passed through Barangay Pasadena.

Veguilla’s group followed the sound until they saw some men slicing a felled tree with a chainsaw. These men suddenly ran away upon seeing the DENR team, leaving behind the chainsaw which Veguilla’s group was able to secure.

On their way home and about a hundred meters away from the site, the DENR forest officers were chased by a group of six men armed with a bolo. Veguilla was able to fire his service weapon as he and his companions were running for safety.

However, Veguilla was cornered and hacked to death, while the others were able to seek help from the nearby barangay and police offices.

Veguilla sustained deep, multiple stab wounds on the head, arms and other parts of the body.

One of the suspects identified as Filman Flores was wounded by Veguilla’s shots and was brought to the hospital.

Flores and another suspect, Gerardo “Carding” Fulgencio, are now under police custody. A manhunt operation is ongoing for the remaining four suspects.

Cimatu said the incident calls for the enactment of a law creating an Enforcement Bureau within the DENR.

“We believe that the creation of an Enforcement Bureau under the DENR can effectively stop illegal logging, smuggling of wildlife species and other environmental crimes,” Cimatu pointed out.

The DENR chief appealed to House members present during the budget hearing to help the DENR have this Enforcement Bureau in the soonest time possible.

Last Friday, DENR MIMAROPA Regional Executive Director Henry Adornado, on behalf of Cimatu, visited Veguilla’s wake to extend the DENR’s condolences and financial assistance to the family.

Two units of chainsaw, Veguilla’s service firearm and the bolo allegedly used to kill him have been recovered from the crime scene and are now in police custody.

Charges for murder have been filed at the Puerto Princesa City Prosecutor’s Office under Docket NPS No. 1V0s INQ 19I0224. Other charges in violation of Presidential Decree 705 or the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines and Republic Act 9175 or the Chainsaw Act of 2002 that regulates the use of chainsaw are being prepared.

Veguilla’s remains lie in state at his home in Barangay Bagong Bayan in El Nido. He is survived by his wife Eloisa, an elementary school teacher, and their six children.

The 52-year-old Veguilla served as reserved warden at the DENR MIMAROPA from 1980 to 1997. He then worked as contractual protected area ranger and forest ranger from 1998 to September 2015.

In October 2015, he was appointed as forest ranger in the El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area.

Veguilla was described by his family and colleagues as hardworking and dedicated. He diligently reported for work and helped out even during weekends and holidays. ###

 

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.

 

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

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

"Today, we celebrate not only the 19th anniversary of Malampaya Sound Protected Landscape and Seascape. We also celebrate the hard work and dedication of countless men and women, partner agencies and groups who have been one with DENR in protecting our beloved MSPLS, "ARD Vince Tuddao, Jr., expresses his thanks to PENRO Palawam, CENRO Taytay, MSPSLS Protected Area Management Office Management and various stakeholders who have been the agency's partners in upholding the welfare of Malampaya Sound above all else.

ARD Vince Tuddao, Jr., CENRO Allan Valle and PASu Alexander Mancio handed over to partner agencies, NGOs Pos and LGUs plaques and certificate of appreciation for their exemplary dedication and untiring support to the programs and projects of the Department within the Malampaya Sound Protected Landscape and Seascape.

Malampaya Foundation, represented by its Exxecutive Director Karen Ag (second form left) extends to CENRO law enforcers, whom she described as environmental heroes, conservation incentive in the form of one year accident and two sacks of rice each from July-December 2019.

Tank you Malamapaya Foundation!

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