Cimatu orders reg’l, local officials: ‘Clean Panglao’ of zone violations
Ric V. Obedencio (The Freeman) - March 21, 2018 - 12:00am

PANGLAO, BOHOL, Philippines — Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu directed Regional Director William Cuñado of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources –Region 7 “to clean” Panglao town of violations to the 20-meter public access zone.

Cimatu, who personally conducted an inspection of the almost-a-kilometer white sand of Alona beach spanning Barangays Danao and Tawala, told Cuñado to send notices of violation to all resorts owners whose buildings already encroached into the salvage zone here, and then report to him.

Resort owners or operators, including the management of a famous five-star resort here, should be informed that the hotel’s concrete structures and swimming pool have already encroached into the public access zone, Cimatu said.

He told Panglao Mayor Pedro Fuertes and Vice Mayor Bryan Velasco, and DENR personnel who accompanied him, that it’s good that resort owners have “accepted the fact” that their structures violated the easement area of 20 meters measured from the highest tide of the coast line.

A day before, Cuñado told the Panglao-Dauis-Tagbilaran City Executive Council (PADTEC), chaired by Governor Edgar Chatto that there are a total of 87 violators of easement area. But most of them are found in Panglao town—particularly in Barangays Tawala, Danao, Doljo, and Libaong—and some barangays in Dauis, a town also in Panglao island.

In separate interview with media, NEDA Director-General Ernesto Pernia, a Boholano who also accompanied Cimatu, said the intrusion of the 20-meter access zone is due to lack of strict enforcement.

Local government units should have “to enforce the law vigorously,” and failure on their part should make them liable, he said. “The government is very serious,” apparently in the protection and conservation of the natural resources, Pernia told the media.

The inspection of the coastline of salvage zone violation came soon after the controversial waste-water pollution in  Boracay became public. Both Cimatu and Pernia said that if ever Boracay closure is enforced, then it would be a gain for Panglao, which however also faces threat of high water contamination.

Cimatu then told Mayor Fuertes to keep enforcing the law to protect Panglao island, which is now considered the jewel of Bohol due to its famous white sand beaches and world renowned dive sites.

Cimatu added that, besides Panglao, he also inspected Anda town, about 100 kilometers eastward, which is also known for its white beaches, and other natural and heritage sites.

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