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DENR orders self-demolition for Boracay establishments to avoid lawsuit

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

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

MANILA, Philippines — Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has reminded owners of commercial establishments located at the no-build zone area of Bulabog Beach in Boracay Island to self-demolish to avoid facing a lawsuit.

The establishments in question stand on forest and wetland areas which the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) prohibits.

“It’s really their right naman but we have to implement the law. The law is there, halimbawa, sinasabi nilang private property na nila yan the government can make some legal remedy para ma-implement,” said the environment secretary.

(It’s really their right also but we have to implement the law. The law is there. For example, they’re claiming that it’s already their private property. The government can make some legal remedy so that it can be implemented.)

On Monday, Cimatu and representatives of concerned agencies inspected the structures built along the 25+5 easement area of the beach.

Establishment owners are given 15 days from today, March 27,  to demolish or abandon their structures.

Meanwhile, Cimatu has asked the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to immediately finish roadworks at Boracay Circumferential Road which connects Barangay Manoc Manoc to Yapak and is expected to ease traffic congestion in the area.

“This will partially or probably reduce the traffic. We are planning to open up another road dito upang i-reduce (here to reduce) travel from one hour to 30 minutes. Ganun,” said Cimatu.

The secretary is confident that with constant cooperation from the local government, the rehabilitation of Boracay Island will speedily progress. — Maris Federes | UNTV News & Rescue

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Government to ban open-pit mining – DENR

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 4th, 2018

 

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has announced that the government will soon ban open-pit mining in the country.

Cimatu made the announcement during the commemoration of the 31st anniversary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Wednesday (July 4) in line with the directive from President Rodrigo Duterte.

 “Open pit mining, isasara talaga iyan kung hindi  mag shape-up (Open pit mining will really be shut down if they don’t shape up). We have to reinvent mining. Find a way to extract minerals by not using open-pit mining,” Cimatu said.

Earlier this week, Duterte revealed his plans for the country’s mining industry in an event in Samar on Monday (July 2). He said the government may be earning P70 billion from mining, but this does not compensate the huge amount of damage it causes to the environment that’s why he is determined to stop it.

“So every now and then, there’s always destruction. Ang pag-asa ninyo ani siguro mga mining–mining but ako (You probably put your hopes on mining, but me) I do not encourage it because one of these days I will stop mining actually,” Duterte said.

All 27 mining sites that former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez ordered closed and suspended are currently undergoing review.

Based on the initial results of the review released by the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC), only four of the 27 have violated environmental laws.

Anti-mining advocates, meanwhile, said they are not convinced by the report.

“Hindi pa kumpleto, hindi pa tapos, kaya nagtataka kami mukhang premature itong announcement ni DOF Usec Agabin na magrerekomenda na sila nung pagbubukas nung 22 na mining operations na ipinasara,” said Aliansang Tigil Mina National Coordinator Jaybee Garbanera.

(The report is not yet complete. This announcement by DOF Usec Agabin about recommending the lifting of the ban against 22 mining operations seems premature.)

Even Lopez herself is not satisfied with the MICC’s review.

 “If you silt the sea you kill the marine life there, you affect the fishermen, you affect the corals. It is a no no! it is affecting the constitutional rights of the fishermen,”  said the former DENR Secretary.

Cimatu, meanwhile, said the complete report on MICC’s mining audit review is expected to be out in August. – Rey Pelayo / Marje Pelayo

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DENR to require ‘environment friendly’ vehicles in Boracay

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, June 29th, 2018

An e-trike

 

BORACAY Island, Philippines – Aside from rehabilitating the beaches of Boracay, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recommends measures to improve the quality of air on the island.

The agency said they will require all vehicles in the island to comply with the specifications stated under the government’s modernization program.

“They must be compliant EURO 4. Meaning they will have a new engine because we would like to make Boracay air pollution compliant,” said DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu.

In line with this, the agency will push through with the phase-out of gas-fueled tricycles in Boracay come September this year.

Malay LGU Executive Assistant Rowen Aguire, it has been years since the local government introduced the use of e-trikes as a replacement for gas-fueled tricycles. It is about time to comply with the directive as stated in the 6-month action plan of the LGU.

“Ma pi-phase out siya kasi ika-cancel mo na talaga yung kanilang mga franchises…pati yung permit niya to transport ire-revoke na rin,” Aguirre warned.

(It [tricycles] will be phased out because their franchises will be cancelled…even their permit to transport will also be revoked.)

Tricyle drivers said they are willing to comply with the requirements of DENR though they have a number of concerns. DENR, for its part, assured that they will give drivers enough time to upgrade their units to become environmental law compliant. — Vincent Arboleda / Marje Pelayo

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17 local execs in Aklan face graft, other charges over Boracay mess

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, June 28th, 2018

Aerial view of Boracay sunset (via UNTV drone)

BORACAY ISLAND, Philippines – Seventeen (17) local officials of Aklan province are now facing multiple charges over irregularities in managing Boracay Island.

DILG Undersecretary Epimacio Densing III filed Thursday (June 28) charges of graft, conduct unbecoming of public officials, gross neglect of duty, grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the services against them.

Among the respondents are Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores, Mayor Ceciron Cawaling of Malay, Vice Mayor Abram Saulog and members of the Sangguniang Bayan of Malay.

According to Rowen Aguire, executive assistant of Malay, Mayor Cawiling welcomes any investigation into the matter.

“Hihintayin niyang dumating yung complaints then they will look into the allegations and they will answer accordingly kasi ang tingin naman niya ay wala naman siyang kasalanan,” Aguire said.

Sangguniang Bayan member and chair of the local environment committee, Maylynn Graf did not expect her name to be implicated in the case. She argued that she was among the advocates of protecting the environment in Boracay.

“Parang baka kulang pa yung ginagawa ko siguro, kailangan kong dagdagan. private sector ako o taong gobyerno ako yun naman ang rason ba’t nandito siguro ako at yun lang ang palagi kong ipinapaglaban,” Graf said.

UNTV News Team attempted to reach Governor Miraflores via phone call but to no avail.

Other barangay officials, meanwhile, refused to comment on the issue. They said they will wait for the copy of the charges from the Office of the Ombudsman before they answer or comment on the case. – Vincent Arboleda / Marje Pelayo

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