The city environment chief reminded establishment owners to observe the proper easement as provided by both national laws and local ordinance in order to protect the coastal areas.
During the technical conference with establishment owners on Friday held at Bulwagang Prinsesa, City Environment and Natural Resources Officer Atty. Carlo B. Gomez told them to fix and not to wait for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to strictly enforce the national law, similar to what happened in El Nido.
“This is a very pressing problem right now. In PPUR PAMB (Puerto Princesa Underground River Protected Area Management Board), we are one step ahead of every situation. Nakita naman natin ang nangyari sa Bacquit Bay. Malapit lang ang El Nido sa Puerto Princesa. Wag na nating antayin si DENR na pupunta dito,” Atty. Gomez said.
The delineation of easement is consistent with the provisions of PD 1067, the Water Code of the Philippines, Presidential Decree 705 or the Forestry Code of the Philippines and Department Administrative Order No. 2007-29, the Revised Regulations on Land Surveys.
Article 51 of PD 1076 states that “The banks of rivers and streams and the shores of the seas and lakes throughout their entire length and within a zone of three meters in urban area, 20 meters in agricultural areas and 40 meters in forest areas, along their margins, are subject to the easement of public use in the interest of recreation, navigation, flotage, fishing and salvage.” The law prohibits any person to stay in this zone longer than what is necessary for recreation, navigation, flotage, fishing and other purpose.
Senior Environmental Management Specialist Mary Ann Joylle M. Madriñan said that there is a provision in the Water Code and city’s zoning ordinance
“We have this provision na meron tayong mandatory easement na dapat e-observe. Sa zoning ordinance ay mayroon tayong additional setback at uniform po yan. Halimbawa sa urban areas ay three meters, merong plus 10 meters. So 13 meters lahat. Nakita kasi natin ang bilis ng development. Ang mga tao naman ay gusto nila ma maximize sng utilization sa area. Even before Boracay ay kailangan na nating e observe ang setback,” she said.
She explained that aside from the existing Zoning Ordinance, the City Council last year passed a separate No Build Zone Ordinance to rid the coastlines of illegal structures and informal settlers.
“Marami pa rin ang nag build sa mga non-buildable areas. Sa Sabang, sa PPUR ay ini-implement na rin ito. Ito ay medyo mabigat pero kailangan para ang quality ng ating beach ay ma-preserve pa natin. We have to observe certain parameters para ma-maintain ang water quality,” Madriñan explained.
She further said that the national government is moving towards that direction in getting rid of coastal areas from occupants. It was started in Boracay then El Nido and Manila. Other tourist destinations like Puerto Princesa maybe the next target.
“Baka tayo na ang isusunod kasi ang easement ay hindi sya talaga pwede tayuan ng permanent structures,” she added.