TWENTY-TWO establishments in El Nido, Palawan have been shut down due to environmental violations, as the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) continues its crackdown on non-compliant businesses in tourism locations.
“May nakitang environmental violations. May mga dumi sa lagoon, sa dagat, marami rin nagvi-violate sa easement, malapit masyado. ‘Yung sewage treatment plant nila, nakaka-affect sa quality ng water sa dagat,” DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu told reporters. (There were environmental violations, pollution in the lagoon, the sea….The sewage treatment plant affects the quality of sea water.)
“After Boracay tututukan talaga namin ito (we will focus on this)….‘Yung mga nagvi-violate muna, ‘yun ang ipapa-close. Individual muna, establishment closure muna,” Mr. Cimatu said. (Those violating will be closed, individual, establishment first.)
According to the municipality of El Nido, 70% of the establishments in the area have already agreed to be shut down.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette A. Puyat said El Nido is overcrowded, adding that the government will come up with a similar study as it did on Boracay regarding the island group’s carrying capacity.
“I can describe it as overcrowded. There are many tourists. ‘Yung lagoon nakita ko, masyadong maraming kayaks and boats, hindi malinis. Nagtatapon sa lagoons,” Ms. Puyat said. (I saw that there were too many kayaks and boats at the lagoons. It’s not clean. They’re throwing [trash] at the lagoons.)
She said the Department of Tourism (DOT), together with DENR and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), is awaiting the municipality’s planned schedule for limiting the number of boats there.
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said the government should carefully study the closing of Coron and El Nido as many go to these islands.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte warned establishments to follow environmental laws, or else be shut down like those in Boracay. — RJNI