Owners of resorts along the world-famous Alona Beach in Panglao have started the partial demolition of seawalls in the area, over a year after the national government issued a directive for them to remove all structures within the 20-meter easement zone.
The initiative which was spearheaded by the Alona Beach Community Association, Inc. (ABCAI) and Panglao Island Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PICCI) was carried out on Wednesday using a backhoe from Troman Realty.
According to ABCAI president Uco Trotin, the demolition started with just the small seawalls as removal of larger ones needed further engineering study to avoid heavy erosion.
So far, at least 100 meters of seawalls were demolished.
“Ang atong gibuhat is kaning mga walls na pwede nato matanggal karon within the easement zone of 2008 ato ng gi-remove including some of the structures. Not the entire walls kay ang uban medyo taas-taas siya, hilanglan siya og engineering intervention,” Trotin said.
He noted that the demolition of the larger structures could pose as hazard to resort guests amid the summer season, which is considered as peak months for tourism in Bohol.
“We can’t take them out right now kay hazard siya sa atoang mga turista. But this is part of showing that we’re really willing to do something about the issue,” he said.
Establishments which demolished their seawalls included Genesis, Buzz Cafe, Coco Vida/Alona Vida, Hayahay Resort, Sierra Madre resort, Jazz bar, Troman Building, Pyramid Beach Resort, and Valm Divers.
For her part, PICCI president Angie Hoffman said that it took them a year to plan the demolition and its safe conduct.
“It took us about one year to really decide aha mi mo start kay we are very willing to cooperate. Pero ang among gikahadlukan kung simbako dunay habagat na dako, mahadlok mi na mo-collapse mga kahoy and especially mga building na duol sa dagat,” she said.
According to Hoffman, they were given until May 30, 2019 by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to complete the demolition of all structures within the easement zone, said Trotin.
The DENR was set to implement the demolition itself following the deadline.
Aside from the seawalls, the Alona Beach has “mostly” been cleared of illegal structures erected along the 20-meter easement zone.
Both Panglao private sectors noted that the seawalls were not built for aesthetic purposes as these were put up to protect the area from erosion and strong waves during the monsoon season.
With the DENR’s mandate, stakeholders at the Alona Beach will still have to monitor the results of the current demolition of the smaller seawalls and to come up with measures to avoid the effects being prevented by the seawalls.
“These walls migawas ni sila because there was a problem that we tried to solve before. If we have to take out the walls then we have to find another solution to that problem nganong nabutang ang walls,” said Trotin.
In March last year, DENR Secretary Roy Cumatu himself inspected the kilometer-long Alona Beach for violations.
He found several illegal structures built within the 20-meter easement zone and gave resort owners six months to demolish these. (rt)