DENR orders demolition of 75 hotels, restaurants, dive shops, other businesses in Coron
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued eviction notices to 75 business owners in Coron town, northern Palawan as it begins its crackdown on government-prescribed easement zone violators on Thursday.
Engineer Roman Legaspi, head of Task Force Coron, said in a statement issued to the local media Thursday that the business owners are only given 30 days to remove their structures on the waters of Coron Bay and along its shoreline, which are part of the three-meter no-build zones in urban areas.
He said the law was clear that structures should not be built in the easement zones, and the eviction notices are part of their implementation of what the government policy states.
?We are just implementing what?s in the law to protect and keep Coron clean, orderly and beautiful,? Legaspi said.
Those who received the notices have businesses located in Barangays Tagumpay, Poblacion 1, Poblacion 3, and Poblacion 5. The establishments they own include restaurants, dive shops, laundry shops, hotels, and boarding houses.
Barangay Tagumpay is classified as timberland area and based on the Water Code of the Philippines occupation is prohibited in riverbanks, shorelines, and lakes within a zone of 40 meters. The rest is zoned as urban barangays.
In a statements made to the local press earlier, DENR Mimaropa Regional Director Natividad Bernardino said the initial list of establishments that had been ordered to self-demolish were those identified by the task force to be with violations.
?The task force?s inspection took more than a month, and around 75 establishments had been recorded to be with violations. The notices will be served until Friday,? she said.
Coron, which is a first class municipality in northern Palawan, is famous for its greenish-blue waters, white sand beach coves, stunning landscapes, and beautiful lakes like Kayangan and Barracuda.
Of Palawan?s 1,163,439 foreign and domestic tourists in 2016, Coron posted 178,000 tourist arrivals based on available data from the Palawan Provincial Tourism Office (PTO).
In November 2013, when typhoon Yolanda barreled through Coron to exit into the West Philippines Sea, it displaced an estimated 4,500 residents, most of whom have occupied mangrove areas which were part of the easement zone.
Bernardino said the local government of Coron has to speed up their relocation or continue having a bay water that is mucked with domestic waste that had over the years resulted in high-levels of coliform and fecal bacteria.
Legaspi also said the infringement of the easement zone is not the only concern they have in Coron, but ensuring that businesses strictly follow environmental laws.
?That?s why it?s not only encroachment we will look into. We will ensure business establishments are following the laws on proper solid waste and wastewater disposal, and other environmental laws,? Legaspi said. (PNA)