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Friday, December 14, 2018

Editorial: Clearing shorelines

Editorial Cartoon by John Gilbert Manantan

THE Lapu-Lapu City Government has shown that it is serious in its effort to clear its coasts. When Mayor Paz Radaza announced the move weeks earlier, she acknowledged that this is in response to the recommendation by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for the city government to demolish illegal structures within the three-meter easement zone in the city’s shoreline.

The City has already demolished a hundred of the more than 600 illegal structures it has targeted for demolition. After Barangay Ibo, the team will move to Barangay Pusok. At least, there seems to be an effort to follow the process: affected families were given notices by the City Attorney’s Office and the city’s Urban Poor Affairs office is working with different urban poor groups.

The effort should be interesting for other local government units (LGUs) that are dealing with the proliferation of illegal structures in its coastal area. As Radaza correctly noted, those structures are in danger zones, meaning these are vulnerable to weather disturbances.

And the peopling of these structures contributes to the pollution of the seawater, in this instance the Mactan Channel (for example, among the structures demolished were piggeries). Lapu-Lapu, after all, is a “resort city” and a tourist destination.

Radaza says that the demolition of illegal structures in the city’s coastal areas could be completed in two weeks. That is probably why she has formed the so-called Task Force Shoreline tasked primarily to ensure that the city’s coast line would remain clean and the three-meter easement zone would remain clear.

There has been no mention, however, of structures within the three-meter easement zone built by resorts there. This has long been an issue since former governor Vicente de la Serna attempted to make the resorts follow the law and failed. Fairness dictates that not only should the illegal structures built by informal settlers be targeted—resorts should also toe the line.

Meanwhile, it pays for other LGUs to learn from what the Lapu-Lapu City Government is doing. Cebu City, for example, has coastal communities that contribute to the pollution at the Mactan Channel and are vulnerable to weather disturbances.


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