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The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has ordered the closure of 10 hotels in the resort town of El Nido for discharging wastewater onto Bacuit Bay.
Michael Drake Matias, Regional Director of the DENR-EMB MIMAROPA, issued the Cease and Desist Order (CDO) on Wednesday, May 15, and announced it on Saturday, May 18.
The DENR-EMB said that these hotels violated the Republic Act 9275 or the Clean Water Act of 2004, for causing water pollution to the town’s seawater.
Those issued with CDO were: El Nido Sea Shell Resorts and Hotel at Brgy. Buena Suerte, Doublegem Beach Resort and Hotel, Buko Beach Resort, Panorama Resort (Mangoana Inc.), Four Seasons Seaview Hotel and Stunning Republic Beach Resort at Brgy. Corong Corong, Sava Beach Bar/ Sava Nest Egg Inc, El Nido Beach Hotel and The Nest El Nido Resorts and Spa Inc. at Brgy. Masagana.
A CDO was also issued earlier by the DENR EMB against Cuna Hotel at Brgy. Maligaya after it was discovered that the establishment discharges blackish and foul smelling wastewater.
The DENR EMB found out that these establishments violated the Clean Water Act after the results of the laboratory analysis of their wastewater exceeded the DENR General Effluent Standards.
El Nido is among the premier tourism destinations in the country with steadily increasing arrival of both domestic and foreign tourist, and ranked third among the province’s towns and city based on Palawan’s tourist arrivals in 2018.
During the recent Inter-agency meeting at the Provincial Capitol on May 17, 2019 intended for the ongoing rehabilitation of El Nido and Coron, the DENR warned commercial establishments to comply with environmental laws, including the easement rule.
DENR Assistant Regional Director (ARD) Vicente B. Tuddao Jr. said that both Coron and El Nido have task forces that continuously monitor the compliance with environmental laws.
“We have to look into the way these owners and the households manages their untreated wastewater. Dapat pangalagaan po natin ang water quality. Dapat it should fall within the acceptable standards under the Clean Water Act, ” he said.
He explained that President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the clean up of the country’s prime tourist destinations including El Nido and Coron. He further said that establishments should abide by the law or face sanctions.
“Tuloy-tuloy po ito dahil ‘yung mga hindi po umaksyon (na mga commercial establishments) ay may susunod pang hakbang ang ating gobyerno na maaring mabigyan po ng mas matinding penalty na naaayon sa batas. So, please comply with the rule of law,” ARD Tuddao warned.