The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has received a land donation for the proposed installation of a sewage treatment plant (STP) near Puerto Galera’s popular white beach.

DENR OIC Secretary Jim O. Sampulna said the donation will be a big boost in the agency’s efforts to preserve Puerto Galera’s marine resources and to make it one of the country’s top tourist destinations.

The Locsin Foundation, headed by Leandro Locsin Jr. and Luis Locsin, heirs of the National Artist of the Philippines for Architecture Leandro Locsin, donated 11,444 square meters of land to be used for a second wastewater treatment facility on the island.

“We are thankful for the Locsin Foundation’s generous contribution in protecting and conserving the waters and natural resources of Puerto Galera. This next step will be a great stand in preventing a Boracay-like scenario,” Sampulna said during the turnover of the Transfer Certificate of Title held at the DENR Central Office in Quezon City on February 21.

Sampulna commended the Locsin family for being environmental advocates, and for Puerto Galera Mayor Rocky D. Ilagan for being proactive in taking a step towards partnering with a landowner to install STPs in his town.

He added that the Locsin family has been responsible for the preservation of several lands in Puerto Galera to keep marine resources and natural habitats safe from further destruction, including repopulating giant clams and keeping them on the island.

Retired Col. Noel J. Detogato, a representative of the Locsin Foundation, said their partnership with the DENR and local government of Puerto Galera exhibits a serious commitment for them to come together for a common environmental cause and the welfare of future generations.

“Pareho lang kami ng advocacy to protect our environment. Gusto rin naming ma-preserve [ang] ating kalikasan dahil kawawa naman ‘yong mga magiging anak natin at apo, [kung hindi natin pangangalagaan ito ngayon,] wala na silang makikitang natural environment,” Delgato added.

Puerto Galera’s first STP is located at Barangay Sabang and became fully operational in 2020. It has since been treating about 1,750 cubic meters of uncontrolled wastewater daily.

Aside from the proposed second STP, the DENR and Puerto Galera’s local government are also in talks of building a DENR regional office and tourist police for the safety and security of tourists on the island.

After receiving the transfer certificate of title from Detogato, Sampulna then turned it over to DENR-MIMAROPA OIC Regional Executive Director Lormelyn E. Claudio. ###