In Our Region


DENR gives biz owners 30 days to remove illegal structures in Coron, warns them of “DENR” impostors

coron illegal structure web


The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is giving 75 business owners 30 days to remove and self-demolish their structures built on the waters and within the easement zones of Coron, Palawan.

The directive is cited in the Notices to Vacate served by Task Force Coron on Thursday to erring establishments located in four barangays, namely Tagumpay, Poblacion 1, Poblacion 3, and Poblacion 5. These establishments include hotels, restaurants, dive shops, laundry shops, and lodging and boarding houses.

The Notice to Vacate specified provisions of the Water Code of the Philippines which prohibit occupation of river banks, sea shores and lakes within a zone of three meters in urban areas and 40 meters in forest areas. Barangay Tagumpay is classified as timberland, the rest as urban areas.

The Notice also cited the Civil Code of the Philippines which defines shores “and others of similar character” as property of public dominion. The Civil Code also declares as nuisance “establishment, business or condition of property, or anything else which obstructs or interferes with the free passage of any body of water.”

“Malinaw po sa batas na wala dapat nakatayong mga istruktura sa mga ganitong lugar. Ipinapatupad lang po namin kung ano ang nasa batas para maprotektahan at mapanatiling malinis, maayos, at maganda ang bayan ng Coron,” Engineer Roman Legaspi, head of Task Force Coron said.

Coron is famous for its pristine island beaches and breathtaking landscapes. It receives an increasing number of tourists every year, with an estimate of 178,000 tourists recorded in 2016. The influx of tourists prompted proliferation of business establishments, some of which do not only encroached easement zones, but were also found to have contributed to water pollution by discharging untreated wastewater directly into Coron Bay.

This aggravated Coron’s water problem, which is mainly attributed to the town’s lack of a centralized wastewater treatment facility.

“Kaya hindi lang encroachment ang tinitingnan natin. Sinisiguro rin natin na sumusunod ang mga business establishments sa mga batas ukol sa tamang paraan ng pagtatapon ng basura at maruming tubig, at iba pang batas na nagpoprotekta sa ating kalikasan,” Legaspi expressed.

DENR MIMAROPA (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan) created Task Force Coron on February 26, 2018 in response to a marching order of DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu to ensure enforcement of environmental laws in the country’s prime beach destinations. Task Force Coron is composed of representatives from DENR and Environmental Management Bureau and coordinates with the local government of Coron and other agencies, such as Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, Department of the Tourism, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Philippine Navy, and Philippine Coast Guard.

In a related development, DENR MIMAROPA cautions establishment owners affected by the cleanup drive in Coron and elsewhere in the region not to deal with impostors posing as DENR officials.

“We urge you not to deal with people who obviously want to extort from business owners,” says DENR MIMAROPA Regional Director Natividad Bernardino.

“The DENR does not authorize anyone to deal with business owners other than members of the Task Forces, which were tasked to lead the cleanup and rehabilitation of beaches in Coron, El Nido, and Puerto Galera,” she adds.

The warning came about following reports that DENR field officials in Oriental Mindoro and Palawan were receiving calls and text messages from unknown persons identifying themselves as Secretary Cimatu, and seeking copies of establishments which were issued Notices.

The Office of Secretary Cimatu has been informed about the incident, which then advised DENR MIMAROPA to take appropriate security measures. ### 





DENR-Region 4B

14 establishments asked to leave Puerto Galera easement zone

puerto gallery web

Moving on with its cleanup of major tourist destinations in the region, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources MIMAROPA on Friday served 14 establishments with notices to vacate and to remove voluntarily the structures they have built on easement zones in Sabang and White Beach, two popular beaches in Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro.

DENR MIMRAROPA Assistant Regional Director and Task Force Galera Chair Dr Vicente Tuddao, Jr. personally served the notices to Tina's Sunset Cottages, Restaurant & Dive Center, Ocean Dream Lodge, Paradise Dive Zone Resort, Corp., Pink & Black Lodging House, Montani Beach Resort, Sabang Inn, Sabang Divers, Mangosteen Restaurant , Dive Dojo, Mermaid Resort Charletan, Inc., Modem Development Company Inc., Captn Gregg, Eddie's Place Bar & Restautant, Marginor Diner & Snack, and I Dive at Casa Mia.

Except for Marginor Diner & Snack and I Dive at Casa Mia which are in Barangay San Isidro, the rest are in Barangay Sabang.

The establishments were given 30 days to comply.

“We hope they will be responsible enough to remove the structures they have built on easement zones within that period. The sooner we can start the rehabilitation of Sabang and White Beach, the better,” Tuddao said.

Apart from clearing up the three-meter easement zone, Task Force Galera also inspected establishments for compliance to environmental regulations such as securing discharge permit, environmental compliance certificate, permit to operate, hazardous waste registration, compliance to solid waste segregation, and having a Pollution Control Officer.

The absence of proper wastewater disposal facility, aggravated by overcrowding of structures along the beaches, is seen as a major source of coliform contamination of Sabang and White Beach. Water quality tests in five sampling stations in Puerto Galera from 2009 to 2017 show high fecal coliform levels.

DENR MIMAROPA Regional Director Natividad Bernardino said notices of violations shall also be served in the coming days to establishments found violating environmental rules.

Bernardino said she hopes people appreciates what DENR is doing is for the long-term good of everyone. “Who would want to visit Puerto Galera in the future if its beaches has become too dirty and hazardous to swim in?” she asks.

Bernardino adds that DENR is trying to rehabilitate Puerto Galera not only for tourism but also for scientific researches.

In 1977, Puerto Galera was declared Man and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO , an international recognition that it is a model of sustainable development which provides “living observatories.” In 2014, however, UNESCO almost strip Puerto Galera of this recognition after it concluded that the town did not meet the criteria. It was only in July 2017 that the status was affirmed after the local government submitted an Integrated Management Plan. ### 





DENR-Region 7


PANGLAO beach web


The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is set to issue Notices of Violations (NOVs) to 87 establishments in Panglao Island whose structures were found to have encroached the 20-meter easement zone.

DENR-Region 7 Director Gilbert C. Gonzales made the announcement following the submission of the Regional Foreshore Area Task Force its initial assessment and inventory, covering five barangays in the municipalities of Panglao and Dauis, in Bohol.

“The report submitted by the composite team revealed that majority of the structures found within easement in Panglao Island are concrete pathways, native cottages, residential cottages, concrete stairs, swimming pools and seawalls owned by business establishments,” Gonzales said.

“We will issue notices of violations to these establishments and they will be given enough time to comply and conduct voluntary clearing of their illegal structures,” Gonzales added.

Article 51 of Presidential Decree 1067 or the Water Code of the Philippines states that “banks of rivers and streams and the shores of the seas and lakes throughout their entire length and within a zone of three (3) meters in urban area, twenty meters in agricultural areas and forty (40) meters in forest areas, along their margins, are subject to the easement of public use in the interest of recreation, navigation, flotage, fishing and salvage. No person shall be allowed to stay in this zone longer than what is necessary for recreation, navigation, flotage, fishing or salvage or to build structures of any kind.”

Further, the amended Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Water Code indicates that “all easement of public use prescribed for the banks or rivers and the shores of seas and lakes shall be reckoned from the line reached by the highest flood which does not cause inundation or the highest equinoctial tide whichever is higher”.

Gonzales assured the public that the DENR will soon complete the delineation and assessment of the entire Panglao Island, in partnership with local government units.

Earlier, the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB)-Region 7 has already issued NOVs to 321 establishments in Panglao and 30 in Dauin for operating without wastewater discharge permits. Upon serving the NOVs, EMB 7, together with the Bohol Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, conducted a mass technical conference to require owners to comply with the required permits, which include Discharge Permit, Permit to Operate and Registration as Hazardous Waste Generator.

“This is a good start, we will do our best to implement our mandate to protect and conserve our environment in Panglao Island, including Mactan Island, Bantayan Island, among other popular beach destinations in Central Visayas,” said Gonzales.





NCR Rattan web



The Department of Environment and Natural Resources – National Capital Region has taken custody of three 40-footer container vans containing rattan poles earlier apprehended in Manila last January for lack of documentary requirements.

The ship containing the cargo, declared as a commodity, was reportedly came from the port of Puerto Princesa City in Palawan and docked at Pier 4 at the North Harbor in Manila, when it was opened for inspection by personnel of the Port Integrated Clearing Office (PICO) of the DENR-NCR.

Report indicated that while one container van was accompanied by transport documents, the remaining two container vans were undocumented, in violation of Section 77 of Presidential Decree No. 705 as amended.

The apprehended rattan poles will be subjected to administrative adjudication proceedings as part of due process by the DENR. ### 







ncr rescued pyhton web



Personnel of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources- National Capital Region rescues a wounded reticulated python (left photo) on Thursday, March 8, 2018,  in Novaliches, Quezon City.   Joseph Lim, a resident of Greenview Executive Village, said he caught the snake near his house, with wounds on head and tail from a fight with a rat, presumably its prey.  Aside from the python, a monkey (right photo) was also turned over to the BMB group during the rescue ops, after Lim succeeded in convincing his friend Edsel Eleoco to turnover his pet monkey of three years.  The two wildlife will be nurtured first at the DENR-BMB Wildlife Rescue Center before they will be re-introduced into their natural habitat to ensure they are in good health and be able to survive in the wild. ### 



DENR-Region 4B


coron structures web


The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is bent on clearing the world-famous Coron Bay in Palawan of illegal structures as part of its campaign to address water pollution and other environmental problems facing top tourist destinations.

“This is a very difficult move on the part of the Department, but we have to do it to address the high levels of coliform contamination in Coron Bay,” DENR-MIMAROPA Regional Director Natividad Bernardo told a crowd of some 250 business owners attending the Stakeholders’ Forum held Tuesday at the Coron Coliseum.

The clearing operations will cover more than 4,000 informal settler families and business establishments that were established either in water or encroaching easement zones and mangrove areas.

The DENR identified a number of factors leading to the deterioration in the water quality of Coron Bay. These include the absence of a centralized sewage treatment facility, discharge of untreated wastewater by various establishments, disposal of informal settlers of their wastes directly into the bay, and discharge of oil into the water by tourists and passenger boats.

“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 diveshops atop stilts in Coron Bay. The Task Force is recommending the dismantling of these structures.

Bernardino admitted that though 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, lakes, 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 ecosystem.
During the dry season, supply of fresh water is increasingly 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 hindi natin aalagaan ang mga ito, ‘di na rin masisiyahang pumunta ang mga turista.” She said that they will now require all tourist establishments to have proper wastewater discharge facilities before they can get DOT accreditation.

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

Business owners, recognizing the growing environmental problems and their potential impact to businesses, also express willingness to cooperate with the cleanup 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 Eriberto Saños 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.” ### 








DENR-Region 7


cebu foreshore area web


The Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Region 7 creates the Regional Foreshore Area Task Force (RFATF) for Mactan Island, Cebu and Panglao Island, Bohol to enforce environmental laws and protect the region’s tourism sites for present and future generations.

DENR Regional Director Gilbert Gonzales said that the two teams will conduct inventory and inspection of all establishments near or within the foreshore areas. The group will come up with an updated list of establishments violating environmental laws, operating without tenurial instruments and building structures outside their property limits. This will include violators of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 (R.A. 9003) and the Philippine Clean Water Act (RA 9275).

The RAFTF teams will coordinate with the Environmental Management Bureau- Region 7, and the concerned Local Government Units for the conduct of their operations.

The Regional Foreshore Area Task Force is given a certain period of time to complete the said inventory and to recommend possible issuance of Notice of Violations (NOVs), penalties equivalent to fees they should have been paying on tenurial instrument from the date their operations started or filing of appropriate charges against the offender.

“We do not want the same situation in Boracay to happen in Panglao and Mactan Islands. Together with the local government units and EMB-Region 7, the task force will be monitoring on the establishments’ compliance to environmental laws, rules and regulations” Gonzales emphasized.

Gonzales also said, “Panglao Island in Bohol and Mactan Island in Cebu in Central Visayas are the most frequently visited sites for the tourism industry in the Philippines. I believe that with the coordination of the city and municipal government in the implementation of the environmental laws, the protection and conservation of our natural resources, our environment will allow all people to live well, now and in the future.” ### 







DENR-Region 4B

DENR, LGU intensify El Nido clean-up 

el nido cleanup web



Showing its resolve to address growing concern over water pollution and other environmental problems, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has linked up with the local government of El Nido in Palawan province in formulating plans on how to implement a clean-up drive in El Nido.

In a meeting of the Task Force El Nido-Bacuit Bay yesterday in El Nido, representatives of the DENR and the El Nido LGU agreed to complete the inspection of business establishments to determine their compliance with environmental laws.

The Task Force has created committees composed initially of 50 members to check compliance with environmental laws, and encroachment into easement zone and timberland. The teams are currently inspecting El Nido’s 205 hotels and other lodging places, 111 tour operators, 24 spa clinics, 92 restaurants, 62 buildings being constructed, and 40 establishments without business permit.

The teams are expected to submit their initial reports next week, after which notice of violations and show cause orders shall be issued to non-compliant establishments.

The intensified clean-up drive in El Nido came amidst DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu’s instructions to address concerns of water pollution, sewage disposal, and other environmental problems particularly in tourist destinations like El Nido, Boracay, and Bohol.

“Kumilos na tayo ngayon at huwag na nating hintaying lumala ang problema. Siguraduhin nating maayos ang sewerage system at ang pagtatapon ng basura sa buong bansa, pero lalo na sa mga dinadagsa ng turista,” he urged.

El Nido faces the same problem as other small towns with booming tourism. The town lacks a centralized sewage treatment plant that can handle the more than 50 cubic meters of sludge collected by the LGU daily.

Many residences and business establishments in El Nido also do not have proper waste treatment facility as required in the Clean Water Act.

DENR MIMROPA Regional Director Natividad Bernardino said she is aware of the enormous challenge of dealing with environmental problems especially in areas that rely largely on tourism for their income. But she is confident that cleaning El Nido is possible with the participation of everyone concerned.
“The success of our efforts will depend on collaboration with the local government and support from stakeholders,” Bernardino said.

El Nido Mayor Nieves Rosento assures DENR of 100 per cent support for the clean-up effort.“We will exercise political will to achieve our goals,” she said.

She reported that the local government has already implemented a Septage Management Ordinance which prompted business and residential establishments to regularly request for desludging of their septic tanks.

The inspection committees are composed of representatives from DENR, Environmental Management Bureau, Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, and the local government of El Nido.

On Friday, the Task Force shall convene a meeting of various stakeholders in El Nido to discuss and ensure implementation of proper waste water disposal and waste management program. ### 




DENR-Region 13

Cimatu to Alicer: Plant Taguibo watershed with endemic species  

R13 Taguibo watershed web



Secretary Roy A. Cimatu of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has installed on Thursday (Feb. 8, 2018) Atty. Felix Sagomez Alicer as the new Regional Director of the DENR Regional Office 13, ( Caraga ) with a tall order to solve the issues on mining, timber poaching and the rehabilitation of the Taguibo Watershed in Butuan City which is the source of potable water of the residents.

“This is you marching order. The Taguibo Watershed must be planted with rich endemic species to improve the supply of water,” Cimatu told Alicer during the turn-over rites held at the DENR 13 Learning Center in Barangay Amabago, Butuan City.

Alicer replaced OIC, Regional Director Charles E. Fabre, who is assigned as PENRO of Negros Oriental province based in Dumaguete City.

Fabre had been requesting the top management to reassign him back as PENRO in Dumaguete City to be close to his family.

On the other hand, Alicer told the personnel of DENR-Region 13: “I am not expecting the personnel to love me but I will try to teach them to love me so that together we can move in harmony and accomplish the tasks ahead of us.”

His message drew applause and approval from the audience, that even Secretary Cimatu described him as “a versatile speaker”.

Meanwhile, Cimatu noted that the DENR is “weak” in the enforcement of environmental laws. “We have the forestry and mining laws in place. We have the Clean Air Act, Solid Waste Management, laws on pollution, laws on bio-diversity but these existing laws need to be enforced and strengthened to protect our environment and natural resources,” he said.

He also reminded the Community Environment and Natural Resources Officers (CENROs) in the region of their important role in the enforcement of environmental laws. “Our performance will depend on you. If you fail, we all fail. I would rely more on the CENRO to carry on the tasks. You are at the frontline, the ones who should win the battle,” he said.

Secretary Cimatu said that he would strengthen the working force of the CENRO by deploying more personnel and hiring of more lawyers to assist the field offices in the enforcement of environmental laws.

The DENR chief also said he wants to professionalize the career paths of the potential leaders who want to become CENR officer but should undergo one month rigid training at the DENR Training School in Caranglan, Nueva Ecija and pass the trainings and interviews before he can be appointed to the position.

Secretary Cimatu was accompanied by Undersecretary Atty. Ernesto D. Adobo, Jr. Biodiversity Management Bureau Director Mundita Lim, Director of Human Resource Development Service Rolando R. Castro , Assistant Secretary for Mindanao Atty. Michelle Go, and Director Montano among others. ### 




DENR-Region 4B


R4B el nido resort illegal lumber web


The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has uncovered widespread violation of environmental laws following a crackdown on commercial establishments in El Nido, Palawan for water pollution.

Task Force El Nido, an inter-agency structure created by DENR to clean-up Bacuit Bay in this resort town, reported that while checking businesses for compliance with environmental and easement zone regulations, it has also chanced upon illegally cut lumber being used in construction.

Last Wednesday, a Task Force member from Palawan Council for Sustainable Development apprehended some 400 board feet of ipil and bayuto, which appeared to have been kept for quite some time within the premises of Green Monkey Beach Resort in Barangay Maligaya.

The following day, Thursday, the Task Force apprehended another 320 board feet of ipil, which was being used to build Mutualla Hotel, owned by a certain Brigitte Bustamante in Sitio Marimegmeg, Barangay Corong-Corong. Stumps of trees that were cut to clear the area under construction were also discovered.

The cutting of premium hard wood species such as ipil and bayuto is strictly prohibited under the Forestry Code of the Philippines, Executive Order 23 or the total log ban issued by President Benigno Aquino, and the National Integrated Protected Areas Act. After ipil, bayuto is now the new favorite among builders in El Nido.

All the confiscated lumber in the two cases have been turned over to the Protected Area Office and their owners shall be charged accordingly.

Eighty per cent (80%) of establishments which were inspected so far were found to have no wastewater discharge permits from the DENR.

Lack of proper waste water disposal was confirmed by a local government report, indicating that about 70 per cent of commercial establishments failed to disludge their septic tanks on a regular basis.

“The disregard of environmental laws in El Nido is overwhelming,” laments DENR MIMAROPA Regional Director Natividad Bernardino.

“If we do not act decisively as soon as possible, this beautiful place may end up as another cesspool town,” she adds. ### 







More Articles...