Boracay establishments with illegal sewer connections face closure, Cimatu warns

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said he will not think twice shutting down Boracay establishments that illegally connect their sewage lines to the island’s rainwater drainage system that goes directly to the sea.

A visibly irked Cimatu issued the warning during a press conference on the island on Wednesday, a day prior to the closure, and after going over two documents containing the list of locations where the illegally connected sewer pipes were discovered.

Cimatu was particularly exasperated by the continued failure of some establishments to connect to the sewer lines of water concessionaires Boracay Island Water Company and Boracay Tubi Systems Inc., despite being told to do so when they were issued notices of violation by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) in February.

“It has been almost two months, but it seems there is a lack of conscience [on the part of these establishments] to act on their own,” he pointed out.

The former Armed Forces chief said he will not hesitate to cancel the discharge permit and other environment-related clearances issued to these establishments should they fail to undertake measures to address their violations.

“Kahit sino ang tamaan sa kanila, we will hold them responsible and make them pay,” Cimatu warned.

According to Cimatu, Boracay establishments that are discharging their untreated wastewater directly to the sea or illegally connecting to the drainage system contribute greatly to the water pollution that triggered government to close down the world-famous resort island to tourists starting April 26.

“This has become a systemic problem,” Cimatu told erring establishments. “You are capitalizing on the beauty of the beach, but you are polluting it.”

Cimatu first received the lists of discovered illegal sewer connections during a meeting with Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores, and officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Public Works and Highways last week.

Both lists contained locations of pipes, with diameters ranging from two to six inches, connected to the drainage system.

The following establishments had pipes connected to the drainage: New Guard Enterprises (one six-inch pipe); Red Coco Inn (one 4” and one 6” pipes); Hennan Garden (six 4” and one 6” pipes); Red Coconut Beach Resort and Lime Hotel (one 4” pipe each); and the Crown Regency Convention Center (two 6” pipes).

Engineers have yet to trace sources of pipes found in the following locations: beside New Guard (one four-inch pipe); along Azalea (four 4” and one 2” pipes); in front of Jollibee (one 6” pipe); Wazzan near laundry services and in front of Leylam Shawarma (one 4” pipe each); in front of Hanna Tour Henan Lagoon (two 6” pipes); and in front of BDO at Crown Regency (three 6” pipes). Most of these pipes have already been plugged by the provincial engineering office.

The BIWC also reported pipes along Kanyugan Alley in Station 2 which were connected to the Red Coconut Hotel’s illegal drainage connection, despite the presence of a sewer line in the area.

Illegal pipes were also discovered in front of or beside the following establishments: Posco Tour, Genko Souvenir Shop, Guest Lounge, Giulius Boracay, Zen Room, JJ Resort and Sun Wood Resort. A pipe at The District resort was also found discharging spring water. ###