The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) ordered the closure of several establishments in El Nido following the announcement of the DENR that three areas are declared as “No Swim Zones” in Bacuit Bay and Corong Corong due to high levels of fecal coliform, a kind of bacteria coming from human and animal wastes.
The declared “No Swim Zones” include Buena Suerte and Masagana in Bacuit Bay, and Barangay Corong Corong. These areas are the location of the outfall, where runoff from sewage flows out.
Mercedita B. Almorfe, Supervising Environmental Management Specialist of the DENR-EMB Provincial Environmental Management Office, said that the Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu already ordered that “no swim zones” be immediately implemented and at the same time, closure of the erring business establishments are ongoing.
“May standing instructions na sa ating Secretary (Cimatu) na zones na hindi na pwede mag-swimming. Kasabay nyan ay ang pag served ng Cease and Desist Order (CDO) sa mga establishments na napatunayang walang proper wastewater disposal,” she said.
While Almorfe cannot give the exact number of establishments that will be served with CDO as of today, August 2, 2019, she said that these are the commercial establishments whose water samples failed in the water quality testing. She said that there are still many others that might be served with CDO in the future.
She explained that the DENR-EMB will work closely with the municipal government of El Nido to ensure that the “no swim zone” is strictly enforced.
The fecal bacteria levels in the El Nido outfall reached 3.448 million units when the standard should only be 100 units. Masagana’s outfall fecal coliform level reportedly recorded 490,000 units while Corong-Corong had 46,000.
“Fecal coliform ay technical term ng dumi ng tao at hayop. May nadiscover na mga establishments na ang mga dumi nila ay papunta talaga sa baybaying dagat,” Almorfe said.
DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu assured that El Nido will not be shut down like Boracay, but their decision is to continue with the rehabilitation.