MALACAÑANG on Wednesday said the rehabilitation of Panglao Island in Bohol and El Nido in Palawan, two important centers for the resort industry, will proceed without an Executive Order (EO) from President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
“On the rehabilitation of Panglao Island in Bohol and El Nido in Palawan, the Cabinet agreed that there is no need to issue an Executive Order,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said in a statement on Wednesday, Nov. 5.
The decision was made during the 32nd Cabinet meeting on Tuesday night, Dec. 4, at the Aguinaldo State Dining Room in Malacañang, according to Mr. Panelo.
In a phone message to BusinessWorld, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the rehabilitation “has already started,” and the timeline is “six months for both.”
“We (Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, Interior Secretary Eduardo M. Año, and myself) first spoke to El Nido Mayor on Nov. 14 at the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources), and we all went to El Nido on Nov. 28,” she said.
“The three of us also spoke to the Panglao Mayor on Nov. 27,” she added.
Initially, according to Ms. Puyat, the local officials “have to implement the 20-meter + 10 (easement zone) for Panglao and 20-meter in El Nido.”
Also last month, the inter-agency task force led by DENR said it was set “to replicate the ‘Boracay model of rehabilitation’ in Palawan province and other top tourist destinations,” including Panglao Island in Bohol.
“We have to maintain Palawan as the last ecological frontier of the country,” Mr. Cimatu was quoted as saying in a statement on Nov. 15.
“Since we’ve started in Boracay, let’s continue these rehabilitation efforts for the sake of the Philippines and the Filipino people, so that they can have something to be proud of,” he added.
He also clarified that El Nido will not be closed down to visitors, unlike the shutdown of Boracay during its six-month rehabilitation. — Arjay L. Balinbin