Panglao is the next target of President Duterte’s marching orders to shut down erring resorts, and even file charges against their operators, in a bid to save the country’s prime tourist destinations from further environmental destruction.
Sec. Ernesto Pernia of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) relayed this information to the Chronicle last Friday following the same warning issued by the President to half of the total number of beach resorts in Boracay.
He said that DENR Sec. Roy Cimatu will personally come to assess the present condition of the resorts in Panglao especially after reports surfaced on the coliform contamination especially along the Alona beach area
The NEDA secretary who is a Boholano said the water contamination, if not given immediate attention, will become a “walking time bomb” which can totally destroy the ecology.
He said once proven to have violated environmental laws, the resorts will not only be closed but the owners will also be charged in court.
The warning issued by Sec. Pernia did not spare suspended Mayor Nila Montero, being the chief town executive. He said the mayor will be included among those to be charged for gross negligence in protecting the environment.
In fact, he called Montero as an “absentee” mayor having noticed her absence in several meetings even those called by Gov. Edgar Chatto.
DENR Sec. Cimatu will soon get the report from the field on the violators in Panglao.
The glaring violations committed by several beach resorts particularly on the absence of a waste water treatment facility has reached the office of the DENR secretary, he said.
Sec. Pernia called on the local officials to make true and support their claim of Bohol being an “eco tourism” province.
“I hope our local officials will be serious in their efforts to preserve Panglao,” the NEDA secretary said citing the case of Balicasag Island which was reported to have deteriorated of its corals due to the negligence of the Panglao LGU to regulate the number of divers daily.
The NEDA executive expressed disappointment on why such environmental violations are being tolerated by the local officials, both in the provincial and municipal levels.
Meanwhile, the Chronicle learned that DILG Sec. Eduardo Año has written acting Panglao Mayor Pedro Fuertes to look into a glaring violation of blocking a barangay road in Taporok, Danao in Panglao.
The DILG official asked acting Mayor Fuertes to investigate the case as a dive shop reportedly operated by a foreigner has blocked the barangay road. He asked the town official to look on the subject structure to determine whether the permit granted by the mayor’s office was unlawful, or the structure constructed is illegal.
He said that a formal complaint filed with the office of Mayor Montero last Dec. 30, 2017 was not given action until this time.
“The DILG looks forward to your prompt action on the matter,” Sec, Año told the acting Panglao mayor.
Sec. Pernia said the particular alleged violation is just one of the many violations committed by resort owners in Panglao.