Unlike the world-famous resort island of Boracay which faces a yearlong shutdown, Bohol’s Panglao Island is not in need of the same drastic measure to avoid environmental degradation caused by overdevelopment and violations against environmental laws.
Panglao’s rehabilitation through strict enforcement of environmental policies may only take three months to complete, said Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu during his hour-long inspection of beachfront resorts along the almost kilometer-long Alona shoreline on Tuesday.
According to Cimatu, support and cooperation from concerned local government units and the business owners themselves would hasten efforts to address environmental concerns in Panglao particularly in the observance of the town’s 20-meter shoreline easement rule.
Cimatu however noted that many of the establishments along the Alona Beach have been violating easement regulations.
“There were several buildings that were compliant but there were also plenty of non-compliant, but the good thing is they were really receptive of our request for them to move to the authorized easement in Panglao…I am very confident na ma-solve ito,” Cimatu said.
Meanwhile, Cimatu did not detect any visible illegal discharge of waste water into the sea throughout the stretch of the white-sand beach in Panglao.
“I was looking for some drainage coming out from the buildings, I did not see anything. So I would say that the water here is okay,” he said.
According to Cimatu, total fecal coliform in the area did not breach the acceptable level of 200 MPN (most probable number) based on recent tests conducted by the DENR.
Although Cimatu noted that coliform level at times had surpassed the 200 mark, this was nowhere near the levels recorded in Boracay waters.
“Based on the result of the monitoring here by our department, the allowable is about 200 and dito medyo below 200, but in some other days medyo nag exceed naman—compared to Boracay which is about 24,000 [MPN], 28,000, 32,000,” he said.
Cimatu arrived in Bohol on Monday for today’s quick inspection of the resorts in Alona and to attend various events including the HEAT-IT Bohol Caravan in Hanopol, Balilihan and the 37th founding anniversary of the Philippine Army’s 47th Infantry Battalion in Tubigon.
According to Cimatu, he will also be inspecting establishments in Palawan and other provinces in between his work in Boracay.
Cimatu is now temporarily based in Boracay where the government’s crackdown on environmental violations has been centered due to overdevelopment and deteriorating water conditions in the island which is considered as among the country’s premier tourist destinations. (AD, RT)