ONLY 21 beach resorts in the Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos) were given permits to operate after the City Government intensified its efforts against resort owners who are violating laws on beachlines and foreshores, an official said.

Igacos city administrator Cleto Bravo Gales Jr., who a guest at Club 888 Wednesday at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao, said that 83 resorts were registered in 2013, but after they intensified their campaign on beachlines and foreshores, only 21 have renewed their permits this year and eight more are still in the process of processing their permits.

The 21 resorts which have been issued business permits are: Secdea Beach Resort, Pearl Farm Beach Resort, Green House Beach Resort, Anamarina Beach Resort, Buenavista Beach Resort, Seaside Beach Resort, El Magic Beach Resort, Camp Holiday Resort and Recreation, Babak-Sunset Beach Resort, Golden Bay Beach Resort and Spa Corporation, Florenda Beach Resort, Marex Beach Resort, Hof Gorle Beach Resort, Island Hills Beach Resort, RMPC Beach Resort, Amparo E. Santos Garden Beach Resort, Seagrass Beach Resort, Club Asiano Beach Resort, Samal Camp Park, Isla Beach Resorts, and Ilihan Beach Resort.

The eight resorts that are still processing their business permits are: Paradise Beach Resort, Fernandez Beach Resort, Caliclic Beach Resort, Blue Jazz Beach Resort and Spa, Precious Garden of Samal Restaurant and Resort, Island Garden Resort in Pangubatan, TIKI Beach Resort, and Granados Beach Resort.

Gales said the remaining 54 resorts who have not yet processed their permits are found to have violated the following laws: Article (Art.) 638 of Republic Act (RA) 386 or the New Civil Code, Art. 51 of Presidential Decree (PD) 1067 or the Water Code, building violations in the National Building Code, and some city ordinances. He did not give details to who these resorts are.

"Most of the violations are structures encroaching what are supposed to be public domain, including jetties and other structure obstructing public domain," he said.

Gales said the penalty for the violators will depend on the extent of the violated encroachment and will be fined per cubic meter. He said some of the penalty were as low as P5,000 while others had a penalty of P300,000.

"The resorts are given three options to comply: they can abide with the law and demolish the structures, they are given the option to self destruct in five years but if they insist to continue to have the structures, they have to pay the penalty per cubic meter; or they can apply for the special investment project but they should have a capitalization of P70 million," he said.

He said if the resorts cannot comply with the requirements, they will be sent a notice for closure. He said they will also be sending notices to the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Department of Trade and Industry.

Although there is a decrease in the number of resorts operating on the island, Gales said they are not worried of a decrease in tourist arrivals "because most of the big players have already their permits."

"We are optimistic the remaining resorts will be able to renew their permits and comply with the requirements," he said.