Brgy. Masagana Chairman Edilberto Templado, despite confirming that the discharged black water in El Nido was due to his directive, reiterated that what flowed from it was not sewage water.
Based on the initial joint report of the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) and El Nido Protected Area Management Office (PAMO), Templado ordered the waterway to be cleared to prevent the town from being inundated by the other night’s rainfall.
The channel opened and eventually flushed out the stagnant, black water seen in Bacuit Bay on October 22, but the barangay chairman emphasized that it was not sewage water because most of the establishments in the are still not operational as of press time.
He explained that the outfall drains the water from the nearby mountains and those that pass through the national highway, Tabanca Road, and some portions of Brgy. Maligaya but during high tide, sands build up and block the outfall, causing water to settle and eventually flood the village, especially during typhoons.
Amidst the recent update in El Nido, the DENR ensured the public that they are already taking actions to make sure that the said waterway does not release dirty water into the bay.
“We have taken water samples for testing and we will also conduct tracing to determine if there are commercial establishments that drain their wastewater into that outfall,” EMB-MIMAROPA Regional Director Michael Drake Matias said.
DENR and EMB are still waiting for the results of the water samples that were tested for fecal coliform, total suspended solids, dissolved oxygen, nitrate, phosphate, power of hydrogen (pH), color, and temperature.
EMB-MIMAROPA Regional Director also said that the subject outfall shall likewise be included in stations regularly monitored, such as Cabugao, El Nido Estero, Masagana and Corong Corong. These are located in four priority barangays, namely Buena Suerte, Maligaya, Masagana, and Corong Corong.
The outfalls are currently under strict monitoring as part of the government’s efforts to rehabilitate Bacuit Bay. Previously portions of the bay were found polluted due to the discharge of untreated wastewater by several commercial establishments.
“We cannot afford to have another outfall that would degrade the water quality of Bacuit Bay, especially now that El Nido is slowly re-opening for tourism,” according to Maria Lourdes Ferrer, executive director of DENR-MIMAROPA.
The Regional Director added that to completely restore the beautiful island of El Nido and prevent any form of destruction in the environment, they rely on their partnership with the local government unit, the business sector, and the community.