DENR issues cease and desist order vs Jollibee, Chowking in Calapan, OrMin for illegal discharge of wastewater, polluting Calapan River

Jollibee and Chowking Calapan closure

Fast food restaurants in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro face closure as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources served them today a cease and desist order (CDO) for operating without discharge permits and releasing partially treated wastewater exceeding the allowable DENR effluent standards.

The CDO signed by Environmental Management Bureau - MIMAROPA Regional Director Atty. Michael Drake Matias specified that Chowking Foods Corporation (Calapan), and Jollibee Foods Corporation (Calapan I and II) continuously release wastewater  without a discharge permit, a clear violation of the provisions of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 9275 or The Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004.

The CDO also cited that the establishments discharge wastewater that not only threaten but “in fact contributed to the failing quality of the receiving body of water, in this case, the Calapan River, which is an established Water Quality Management Area.”  

 “Latest results insofar as monitoring of the Calapan River is concerned showed that for most parts, the water quality guideline of 7 mg/L for Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) has been exceeded,” the Order stated.

As such, the CDO was immediately implemented by sealing the restaurants’ water facilities  from their kitchens to the comfort rooms (faucets, kitchen sinks, lavatory, sewer lines, outlet pipes,etc); and by posting a notice of their violations to the public. 

Some of the passersby who saw the notices were quick to share their insights. “Tama lang ang ginagawang yan para masigurong ang natatapong tubig sa ilog ay malinis,” Val Andido said.

Aside from the closure, the establishments are also liable for fines ranging from P10,000 to P200,000 per day of violation in accordance with RA 9275 and its implementing rules and regulations.

“Sana maintindihan nila na ang ginagawa natin ay para lang din masolusyunan ang polusyon sa ating katubigan, hindi lang dito sa Oriental Mindoro kundi sa rehiyon ng MIMAROPA at sa buong bansa,” the EMB Regional Director said. 

DENR Assistant Secretary for Field Operations - Southern Luzon Reynulfo Juan, who was also present in the activity, said that the efforts to clean up bodies of water in the country form part of Secretary Roy Cimatu’s priority programs, which include Clean Water and Solid Waste Management.

“We take off from the rehabilitation efforts done in Boracay and Manila Bay. We are confident that we can also save Calapan River by strictly enforcing the law with the help of the local government unit,” Asst. Secretary Juan remarked.

Prior to the issuance of CDO to the restaurants, DENR officials  met with Mayor Arnan Panaligan and Vice Mayor Gil Ramirez to inform them of the Environment Secretary’s major thrusts as basis of next clean up efforts and implementation of environmental policies in the region.

Alongside Boracay and Manila Bay rehabilitation, DENR is also spearheading efforts to clean up and restore the country’s top tourist destinations found in MIMAROPA, namely El Nido and Coron in Palawan, and Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro. 

“I hope this (issuance of CDO) serves as a warning to all establishments that we are serious in our work to protect our oceans, rivers, lakes and all bodies of water,” Regional Executive Director Henry Adornado stated. 

“This is just the beginning, we will be issuing CDOs to establishments found violating environmental laws, soon,” he added. 

“We are constantly monitoring the compliance of establishments with existing policies so we can immediately perform necessary actions should they fail to abide by the law,” Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer of Oriental Mindoro Mary June Maypa remarked. 

The team that served the cease and desist order was composed of officials and personnel from the DENR and EMB - MIMAROPA. For his part, Mayor Panaligan sent local police headed by Police Superintendent Efraim A. Camara to ensure safety and security in the area.

The Orders were received by the restaurants’ managers, namely Gelai Roxas (Jollibee - Calapan I), Eric Pernia (Jollibee - Calapan II) and Liana Maulion (Chowking).###