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DENR Mimaropa warns polluters in El Nido

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By Lyndon Plantilla (LP/DENR Mimaropa)

QUEZON CITY (PIA) -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) – Mimaropa strictly enforces environmental laws on restaurants and hotels found polluting Bacuit Bay in El Nido, Palawan.

“We have initial investigations done on other hotels and restaurants and we are just waiting if results of their effluent samples would merit issuance of Cease and Desist Orders (CDOs),”said DENR Mimaropa Regional Executive Director Henry Adornado.

Last week, a DENR-Mimaropa team led by the Environment and Management Bureau (EMB) Mimaropa served CDOs to El Nido Sea Shell Resorts and Hotel in Brgy. Buena Suerte; Doublegem Beach Resort and Hotel; Buko Beach Resort; Panorama Resort (Mangonana Inc.), Four Seasons Seaview Hotel and Stunning Republic Beach Resort, in Brgy. Corong-corong; Sava Beach Bar/Sava Nest Egg Inc., El Nido Beach Hotel and The Nest El Nido Resorts and Spa, Inc. in Brgy. Masagana.

Cuna Hotel, also from Barangay Maligaya allegedly discharging blackish and foul smelling wastewater, was also served with CDO as ordered by the Pollution Adjudication Board.

“Until these erring establishments have shaped up, we have no other choice but to enforce the law and stop them from polluting El Nido,”Adornado said.

The establishments’ water line and facilities from the kitchens to the comfort rooms (faucets, kitchen sinks, lavatory, sewer lines, outlet pipes,etc) were sealed and notices of violations were posted outside of the buildings.

Engineer (IV) Dan Goodwin Borja, a member of the implementing team and Officer-in-Charge of the EMB Administrative and Finance Division, said that if an establishment was served with a CDO, the CDO stops the cause of pollution."

“It is a tedious process but that is what the law prescribes. We make sure all our actions are done in due process,” said EMB Mimaropa Regional Director Michael Drake Matias who signed the CDOs.

Wastewater samples taken from the establishments, based on laboratory analyses, went beyond the DENR’s ’General Effluent Standards for Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD).

BOD is a measure of the quantity of oxygen used by microorganisms when decomposing organic materials present in water. It provides an index on how discharged wastewater affects its receiving environment.

A high BOD indicates high amount of organic matter present in the water sample.

Furthermore, these establishments were found continuously discharging wastewater without valid permits which violate Rule 14.12 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of The Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 which says "Disapproved applications or suspended or revoked wastewater discharge permits shall not grant any right or privilege to the applicant or former permit holder to discharge its waste water into any body(ies) of water and /or land. Any discharge shall be a ground for the immediate issuance of a cease and desist order,"

Engineer Borja said these establishment have no permits and are not allowed to discharge wastewater.

The ongoing rehabilitation of El Nido forms part of the strong directive of Secretary Roy Cimatu to protect all bodies of water in the country.