THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will run after resorts in Moalboal, Cebu for creating illegal structures in their areas of operation.
DENR 7 Assistant Director Eduardo Inting said he will send another round of notices of violation to resort owners who violated the 20-meter easement zone provided under Presidential Decree 1067 or the Water Code of the Philippines.
Section 51 of the Code says the easement for urban areas is three meters, agricultural areas is 20 meters and forestal lands 40 meters. Inting said Moalboal is an agricultural area, hence the easement zone is 20 meters.
“There must be no structures within this area in Moalboal. We will be sending notices of violation to resort owners,” Inting said.
Inting, however, declined to name the resorts.
Moalboal town Mayor Inocentes “Titing” Cabaron, in a separate interview, said he is aware that the DENR has conducted monitoring on these resorts several times already, but the municipal government was not given this list thus he also could not name the resorts.
DILG 7 Director Leocadio Trovela, for his part, said local government units (LGUs) are under its jurisdiction, so they want to know from town officials why there are illegal structures in beach resorts when they are the ones that issue clearances, as well as building and business permits.
Trovela said to eradicate these structures, the DILG is working closely with the DENR and the Department of Tourism while pointing out that these resorts have also committed environmental pollution.
Cabaron said the Moalboal Municipal Council passed a resolution addressed to DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu asking for “a little kindness” to be given to resort owners.
The resolution sought to reduce further the easement zone to less than 20 meters in favor of the resorts.
But according to Cabaron, they have not received a reply from Cimatu until now.
Further, the intent of the resolution was to ensure that any impending closure will not affect the town’s revenues generated from these tourism-related operations, he said.
Cabaron said he wants the DENR to be considerate in implementing the law; otherwise, the closure (of several resorts) may lead to an economic downturn for the town.
He said the impending closure of resorts will reduce the taxes due to the municipality and reduce its income. The town’s employment rate will likewise drop as well as tourist arrivals.
“But they (resort) owners are willing to demolish (their structures) on their own once they receive a notice of demolition from the appropriate authority,” Cabaron said.
Moalboal is one of Cebu’s most visited tourist destinations. In the 2017 records of the DOT 7, it logged 24,620 local and foreign arrivals, placing third among the most visited towns in Cebu.
The first is Oslob, which is famous for its whale watching. Second is Daanbantayan, known for its white-sand beaches and crystal clear waters. (EOB, VLA)