ILOILO CITY – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Boracay Eminent Persons Group have cracked down on violators of ordinances and laws on Boracay Island.
The Environmental Management Bureau last week issued notices of adverse findings against two projects on the island-resort after they were allegedly found to be violating environmental laws and policies.
The projects include Boracay Crown Regency Hotels and Convention Center and Gorgeous Holdings Inc.
In a notice dated Feb. 11 issued by EMB regional director Bienvenido Lipayon, the DENR directed Boracay Crown Regency Hotels and Convention Center, owned by J. King & Sons Co. Inc., to stop its development projects in Barangays Balabag and Manoc-Manoc due to the absence of an environmental compliance certificate (ECC).
In another notice issued by provincial environment officer Raul Lorilla, the agency directed the developer to stop the filling up of an area identified by a DENR inspection team as a wetland.
But the hotel’s legal counsel Deolito Alvarez denied that the company had committed violations.
“The property being developed is not on a wetland,” Alvarez told the Inquirer in a phone interview.
Alvarez said the water in the area where the construction was ongoing came from the natural wetland across the property, on the other side of the main road in Boracay.
He said residents near the wetland placed a culvert that cut across the road and illegally diverted the overflow from the wetland to the hotel property.
“We are contesting the Penro’s finding and we have asked the DENR regional office to conduct another inspection to determine which area is the natural wetland,” said Alvarez.
He said his group had filed an application for an ECC in September last year but the application was returned by the DENR following an announcement by Secretary Lito Atienza of a moratorium on the issuance of building permits.
But Alvarez said “there was no valid and effective moratorium at that time” pointing out that the moratorium took effect only on Jan. 2.
In a separate notice dated Feb. 13, the EMB ordered Gorgeous Holdings Inc., developer of a property in Sitio Cagban in Manoc-Manoc at the southern end of the island, to explain alleged violations in their ECC and Presidential Decree No. 1586 (Philippine Environmental Impact System and its Implementing Rules and Regulations).
The EMB said the developers violated two provisions – one limiting the land clearing and the other prohibiting the cutting of mature trees without DENR clearance.
An aerial photo furnished the Inquirer showed a deep excavation and widespread clearing of trees in the area being developed near the Cagban port.
In a statement, Gorgeous Holdings Inc. said the company had complied with the rules, policies and permits issued by DENR and other agencies.