DENR-Region 7 forms investigation team to manage Panglao Island environmental issues

To prevent a similar dilemma that is confronting the world famous Boracay, the Department of Environment and Natural  Resources has mobilized a regional investigating team in Panglao Island in Bohol that would determine the compliance of resorts and commercial establishments on the clean water act and solid waste management act.

At the same time, the DENR is urging the local government of Central Visayas to make the discharge permit a requirement for the issuance of a business permit.

“We have learned our lessons in the problems concerning Boracay. We have to strictly enforce environmental laws in order to protect the country’s tourism sites so that the future generations will be able to enjoy them as well,” DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said.

A group of technical personnel from the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Region 7 and provincial environment and natural resources office in Bohol province comprise the Bohol investigation team. First on the list of activities of the regional investigation team is to find out the roster of establishments in Panglao Bay that are not complying with the Clean Water Act and the Solid Waste management act. Also, the experts will search for businesses that are encroaching on the timberland areas that are no-build zones.

“We will comb through all the establishments in Panglao and impose a crackdown on environmental violators. What happened to Boracay is a wake-up call to others,” Cimatu added.

According to DENR 7 Regional Director Gilbert C. Gonzales, the regional team will check the sewage and wastewater facilities including the garbage disposal systems of each establishment operating within the island especially those along the coastal areas.

“Also, we have to look into the land classification of these areas to make sure that public owned or forestlands are not occupied by illegal settlers or illegal structures built and operated by local or foreign business owners. Once the list of erring establishments is formed, we will issue notices of violation to owners and operators of these businesses. Cease and Desist orders will be given to enterprises whose owners fail to take appropriate action,” Gonzales noted.

The coastal waters of Panglao is classified by the DENR as ‘class SB’ which is accorded to tourist zones that is intended for Recreational Water class 1 or those used for swimming, ecotourism and other related activities, and for Fishery Water class 3 or those that are considered as spawning area for Çhanos Chanos or ‘Bangus’and similar species. 

The DENR Region 7 is appealing to local government leaders to propose Panglao Coastal waters as a water quality management area.

A proposal will also be made to business establishments to join the Adopt-a-Waterbody program and to schedule regular cleanup activities along the shorelines of Panglao island.

The local leaders are also asked to manage the presence of dogs that are defecating near the shorelines and to designate specific areas for boats to maintain the cleanliness and attractiveness of shorelines. ###

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