DENR to tighten environmental watch in tourist areas

MANILA The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has vowed to intensify the enforcement of environmental laws in Boracay Island and other top Philippine tourist destinations.

DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu said the agency will establish permanent offices in those areas to strictly implement environmental laws.

"Tourist destinations are where we have to make our presence felt," he told DENR central office employees Monday (Sept. 24), noting that natural resources provide ecological services and are among the country's tourist draws.

Aside from Boracay, he said Siargao, Palawan and Bohol are among tourist areas where DENR will set up offices.

The government closed Boracay for six months starting April 26 to help facilitate rehabilitation work in the island. It is scheduled to re-open on October 26.

The agency is cracking down on environmental violators in Boracay Island to save the world-famous tourist destination from further environmental degradation. Water pollution, accumulation of trash as well as encroachment in wetlands and forests are among environmental problems the agency has been fixing in the island.

The DENR and other members of the multi-agency task force spearheading Boracay's rehabilitation will meet soon to further check on the progress of the work, Cimatu said.

Citing latest available data, he said water quality in Boracay is improving. Water in Boracay's Bulabog Beach is already considered fit for swimming, he noted.

In preparation for the re-opening, Cimatu said DENR will push through with its 10-day dry-run beginning October 15.

The dry run would determine if measures like sewerage systems Boracay establishments installed - as part of this island's rehabilitation - are working.

"We have 10 days to check the work and correct defects," he said.

Cimatu added that solid waste would no longer accumulate in Boracay Island as the garbage contractor would transport waste daily out of Boracay. The contractor would dispose Boracay's waste at the sanitary landfill in Malay municipality proper which has jurisdiction over the island, he added. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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