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The interagency task force led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and various government agencies is set to submit its recommendation on August 25 for the establishments in El Nido, Palawan that might face closure for non-compliance of existing laws, specifically the Clean Water Act.
DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu ordered the regional executive director for MIMAROPA, Henry Adornado, to form an interagency task force to inspect and investigate establishments and households in the popular resort town that may be violating environmental laws.
This is part of the ongoing rehabilitation of El Nido following the declaration of several areas as No Swim Zones such as El Nido Estero Outfall, Cabugao Outfall, Masagana Outfall and Corong-corong Outfall.
“Meron nang instructions nyan sa aming Secretary. At itong closure ng mga establishments ay part ng rehabilitation at pagsasa-ayos ng El Nido,” Mercedita Almorfe, supervising environmental management specialist of DENR-Environmental Management Bureau, said.
The environment department also said that while it remains open to tourists, strict no-swimming zones in specific areas in Bacuit Bay would be imposed.
These outfalls registered high levels of fecal coliform, or bacteria associated with human and animal feces, according to tests done by the DENR.
“Ang results ay lumampas doon sa tama lang sana na safe level ng water quality,” Almorfe said.
She admitted that there are commercial establishments in El Nido whose improper disposal and discharge of wastewater contributed to the pollution of water bodies in this town.
We will wait for the results and then will be closing individual establishments based on the recommendation of the task force,” the Office of the DENR Secretary Cimatu said in a statement.
The major issues surrounding El Nido include high coliform level in certain areas, violation of easement rules, business establishments operating without business permits, and construction of buildings in prohibited areas like timberlands.