BACOLOD

Penro: ‘Illegal structures’ at NNNP still being reviewed

THE issue on “illegal structures” established inside the Northern Negros Natural Park (NNNP) is still being reviewed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Legal Division for any administrative and criminal actions.

This was the response of Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro)-Negros Occidental head Edgardo Rostata on the earlier statement of an environment group expressing their concerns on the “anomalies” particularly at the protected area of the park.

Rostata said the DENR has already issued show cause orders for many of these structures on top of the notices of violations issued by the Environment Management Bureau (EMB).

The local government unit (LGU), he said, has the primary responsibility for building and business permits which they promised to act on.

“Many areas are exposed to disaster prone area which is being implemented by the LGU,” Rostata said, adding that for Silay City, for instance, the Patag Development Management Authority (PDMA) has to come up with a common stand to immediately address it collectively especially now that they are engaging commercially.

The Group of Environmental Socialists (Goes), earlier said, it has submitted a letter to the local governments of Silay and Salvador Benedicto expressing their stand on the NNNP issue.

The same letter was sent to Penro, DENR-Western Visayas, National Anti-Poverty Commission, and Department of the Interior and Local Government.

Goes, in a statement, said this move is a step forward to address and expose the “can of worms” destroying the NNNP.

The resorts, business, and commercial establishments operated in the park have no location clearances, business permits, Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) clearance, and Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC), it said.

Also, they are calling the attention of DENR Region VI Director Francisco Milla Jr. and Rostata “to do their mandates to protect the rights of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology.”

The Penro official said the local government of Silay is spearheading the PDMA composed of various government agencies like the Department of Tourism (DOT), Provincial Government of Negros Occidental, Provincial Environment Management Office (Pemo) to address the issues collectively.

The DOT is also taking the lead in preparing the management plan for Patag as provided under Republic Act 8059 declaring Patag as ecotourism zone.

Rostata said that questions have been raised why this was allowed especially electrical connections even if they have not acquired business permits or tenurial instrument as basis for connecting it commercially.

“The Central Negros Electric Cooperative and building officials were required to review the systems and procedures as well as requirements before granting it,” he said, adding that Silay City will be updating us on the next meeting.


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