Manila, Philippines – The government’s clean-up drive continues. Its latest target: Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro.
The Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) Regional Office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) announced on Tuesday that it had ordered 14 establishments to vacate the popular Sabang and White beaches in Barangay Sabang and San Isidro.
The said establishments have reportedly built structures along the shoreline in the popular beach destinations.
The DENR requires, however, that at least three meters from the waterline must be clear of any structures.
Vicente Tuddao Jr., Assistant Regional Director, DENR Mimaropa, personally served the notices to Tina’s Sunset Cottages, Restaurant & Dive Center, Ocean Dream Lodge, Paradise Dive Zone Resort, Corp., Pink & Black Lodging House, Montani Beach Resort, Sabang Inn, Sabang Divers, Mangosteen Restaurant , Dive Dojo, Mermaid Resort Charletan, Inc., Modem Development Company Inc., Captn Gregg, Eddie’s Place Bar & Restautant, Marginor Diner & Snack, and I Dive at Casa Mia.
The establishments were given 30 days to voluntarily dismantle their structures or face demolition.
“We hope they will be responsible enough to remove the structures they have built on easement zones within that period. The sooner we can start the rehabilitation of Sabang and White Beach, the better,” Tuddao said.
Task Force Galera is following the government’s lead in the ongoing clean-up campaign in Boracay, and has started an inquiry on businesses’ compliance to environmental regulations, including permits discharge permits, environmental compliance certificates, and permits to operate.
They were also probing their compliance with hazardous waste registration, solid waste segregation, and whether or not they had designated a Pollution Control Officer as required by law.
Improper wasterwater disposal and overcrowding of beaches were blamed for high fecal coliform levels detected in five sampling stations in Puerto Galera from 2009 to 2017.
DENR Mimaropa Regional Director Natividad Bernardino said will be served to establishments found violating environmental rules in the coming days.
Bernardino underscored the need to rehabilitate the area not only for tourism purposes but also for scientific research.
In 1977, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared Puerto Galera as a Man and Biosphere Reserve or a model for sustainable development.