THE Cebu Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) can stop the operations of any resort or establishment within Cebu Province if found that they are releasing wastewater near bodies of water such as rivers and beaches, an official said yesterday. But Penro officials said they need the help of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) 7 as they have the capability to monitor establishments that release wastewater. In an interview, Penro Executive Assistant Thebazile Monserate said they have been receiving complaints of indiscriminate wastewater dumping particularly from piggeries and poultry farms.

Monserate said they have started strengthening their monitoring procedures following the initiative of President Rodrigo Duterte in closing down Boracay Island due to the failure of resorts and establishments there from putting up sewerage systems. Aside from Boracay Island, Panglao Island in Bohol is also being assessed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Monserate said that aside from monitoring, their coordination with EMB 7 also aims to ensure that resorts and establishments that have no wastewater treatment facilities will strictly comply with environmental laws. If any resort is found to be indiscriminately dumping wastewater on rivers and other bodies of water, Penro will not hesitate to suspend their operations, said Penro Enforcement Division Head Rhea Yray.

But Yray assured that the resorts and establishments found violating will undergo due process. She said they also need a formal complaint before they could initiate an investigation on the said resort or establishment. As of now, Penro’s mandate when it comes to water quality management monitoring is only focused on local slaughterhouses and other facilities owned by the Cebu Provincial Government. (JKV)