AFTER 127 RESORTS WERE CITED FOR VIOLATIONS: EMB inspects beach water quality

By Marlon A. Loterte LEGAZPI CITY --- The Environment Management Bureau (EMB) regional office here conducted beach water monitoring after notices of violation were given to 127 resort owners in the region last April, this year. The resorts were cited for violating RA 8749 or the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999, RA 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004, and PD 1586 that calls for establishment of environmental impact statement system. The bureau also conducted series of consultations with the resort owners and representatives from local government units to help the business operators comply with the requirements. Leonisa Madeloso, chief environmental management specialist of EMB Bicol, said most of the resort owners lacked the knowledge in securing permits from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and EMB prior to the construction or development of their businesses. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives’ committee on ecology gave resort owners 10 months to secure the mandatory certifications and authorizations from the government. The EMB expressed optimism that the resort owners will be able to beat the deadline. “We do not find it hard for the resort owners to comply. They are cooperative with us,” Madeloso said. She added that the bureau is planning to establish a one-stop shop for all ecotourism industries to avoid conflict of issuance per agency in the six provinces of Bicol. The province of Catanduanes is keen on pioneering the scheme. “For me, let us not only look at the economic viability. Let us also consider environmental sustainability. Developments are welcome for as long as we do not damage our environment,” Madeloso said. As of this writing, the beaches of Caramoan (Camarines Sur) Matnog (Sorsogon) and Calaguas (Camarines Norte) are strictly being monitored for safety to public use to avoid getting the “cesspool” label that Boracay Island had.