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Cimatu speaks up on alleged ‘flattening’ of a Boracay mountain

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, May 17th, 2018

Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu answers questions during an inspection in Boracay Island.


A video posted by an anonymous Boracay resident has gone viral for supposedly capturing an ongoing excavation that resulted in the flattening and deforestation of a mountain in Barangay Yapak.

This led residents to question the rehabilitation efforts of the government while some turned to social media to seek explanation for the leveling activities.

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu issued a statement on Wednesday, May 16, to clarify speculations.


READ: The Press Statement of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu                on the alleged flattening of a mountain in Boracay

“Facebook posts by netizens regarding the alleged flattening of a mountain near the eco-village multi-purpose gym in Boracay have reached my office.

“Like everyone else, we are also deeply bothered by such acts of total disregard of the government’s effort to rehabilitate Boracay.

“Reports from our field office indicated, however, that said flattening of mountain was conducted prior to the Boracay closure and has since been stopped.

“To be clear to all that we mean business in the enforcement of environmental laws, rules and regulations, I have ordered, with the concurrrence of the Boracay inter-agency task force, a total stoppage of all constructions of any kind effective immediately.

“I have also ordered a moratorium on the issuance of DENR permits, including but not limited to Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC), tree cutting permit, except those relating to on-going road widening project by DPWH, and other licenses.

“Certainly, we welcome feedback from the public. Your opinion and suggestions do matter to us.

“We are appealing to each and every one, however, that when you make any report or post anything online, these should be verified first so as not to cause any misunderstanding.”


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Marawi rehabilitation to kick off before end of October

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Aerial view of Marawi City via UNTV Drone

MARAWI CITY, Philippines — A year since President Rodrigo Duterte declared the liberation of Marawi City from terrorists on October 17, 2017, residents still cannot shake off the fear that a similar incident could descend upon them again.

“Yung takot di naman mawawala yun eh. Kasi ever since hindi nangyari sa amin itong ganito, tapos bigla na lang nangyari. Kaya sa puso namin may takot pa rin kami (The fear never goes away. We’ve never had any incidents until the battle broke out all of a sudden. That is why there is still fear in our hearts),” said Norfaidah Magdara, a businesswoman and resident of Marawi.

College student Salmiah Maca Agir echoed the same apprehensions.

“We feel secure na rin po pero may mga time pa rin po na natatakot ka kasi we never know po na may panahon na magkakaroon ng ganong pangyayari ulit (We feel secure in a way, but there are times that we still feel afraid because you don’t know when a similar incident will strike again),” she said.

Those who are still stuck in evacuation centers lament the long wait for the promised housing units.

“Even though sinasabi nla na liberated na nga pero yung idea na wala ka pa rin sa bahay mo wala ka pa rin sa sinasabi mong home (Even though they say we have been liberated, we still don’t have houses we can call home)” said Agir.

According to Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM), debris clearing operations in the most affected area will begin this month.

By the end of October they expect to finally hold the long-awaited ground breaking ceremony of the city’s rehabilitation which will be led by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“In the next few days we will see the deployment of heavy equipment, mga gamit na gagamitin sa (and materials needed for ) debris clearing in sectors 1&2,” TFBM field office manager. Asec. Felix Castro said.

Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra said the local government is grateful for all the assistance being given to them; however, they admit feeling frustrated by the slow progress of the rehabilitation efforts.

“Ako’y naiinip but at the same time naintindihan ko ang ating gobyerno. Ako po ay nasa gobyerno at alam ko ang proseso. Even sa local po yung pag iimplement natin ng mga projects dumadaan sa proseso (I am frustrated but at the same time I understand the government’s side. I am part of the government and I’m familiar with the process. Even in the local level, implementations of project go through a process),” he said.

At present, life in Marawi City is slowly returning to normal, particularly in Barangay Basak Malutlut where the battle began in May 2017. — Weng Fernandez

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DAR vows to distribute 8 hectares of Boracay agri land to Ati tribe

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, October 17th, 2018


Boracay Island

Instead of running for the upcoming elections, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary John Castriciones has decided to continue his duty in the department.

Earlier reports said the Secretary was going to run under the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas that advocates federalism.

However, Castriciones confirmed that he will focus instead on serving farmer-beneficiaries by implementing government’s land distribution program.

“The president has given me a directive that we will aggressively distribute all these lands to our farmer beneficiaries,” said the agrarian reform secretary.

Castriciones said that there are currently 561,000 hectares of land and 260,000 “government-owned lands” that are up for distribution by DAR.

He also assured to carry out President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to distribute among farmer-beneficiaries the agricultural lands in Boracay Island.

“I will see to it, with the blessings of the president that his directive about the lands in Boracay to be distributed shall be finally implemented,” said Castriciones.

Currently, there are 7.9 hectares of land in Brgy. Manoc-Manoc in Boracay that can be distributed to the island’s indigenous Ati tribe.

The government targets to place about 25 hectares of land in Boracay under land reform as part of the island’s clean-up drive. — Yssa Jalmasco ( with reports from Charlie Barredo)

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Non-compliant hotels, resorts in Boracay warned against accepting online bookings

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

Aerial shot of Boracay after its six-month rehabilitation

BORACAY ISLAND, Philippines — Hotels and resorts in Boracay that have not passed the set environmental standards to operate should not accept booking reservations.

According to Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, these establishments should stop promoting online until they complete the requirements mandated by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Puyat warned that these establishments may face charges for doing so.

“The actions of these non-compliant establishments in soliciting and or accepting booking reservations may be considered deceptive and may subject them to civil liability and suits,” said Romulo-Puyat.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año added that establishments should be 100 percent compliant before they will be allowed to operate.

This is to avoid any confusion that may cause negative impact on tourists planning to visit Boracay.

Some hotels are also having difficulty in getting new environmental compliance certificate (ECC) for not having a proper waste disposal.

Aside from that, the easement rule is also not followed by establishments along the white beach and even beside the road.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu reiterated,”The rule is very clear, non-compliant no operation. Ganun lang ka simple. And it should be 100 percent compliant hindi 95 percent [or] 90 percent.”

When asked what will happen to non-compliant establishments that insist on operating, Cimatu said, ” We will padlock it.”

Meanwhile, a hotel in Boracay was found to have a falsified DENR permit.

According to Cimatu, they were able to identify the culprit as an employee of the owner of the hotel.

A law suit will be filed by the DENR against the individual who falsified the document

“Falsification of documents against the person gumawa ng ganun. Pag inincrimate niya yung boss niya, bahala sila,” Cimatu said.

The Boracay Interagency Task Force required the establishments in Boracay to be compliant with the standards of DENR, the DILG and the DOT for them to finally be able to operate on the island.

Puyat added that they will continue accepting applications for compliance even after the soft opening on October 26. – Vincent Arboleda

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