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DENR to employ control card system in Boracay Island

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, September 21st, 2018

Aerial view of Boracay sunset | UNTV Drone

BORACAY ISLAND, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is working double time prior to the reopening of Boracay Island on October 26.

The agency along with the local government unit in Aklan and other stakeholders are now finalizing the regulations to be imposed 36 days before its soft opening.

Based on DENR’s study, the island can accommodate up to 60,000 people as its ideal carrying capacity is expected to produce nine tons of waste materials on the average.

In order to control the possible influx of residents on the island, the agency is planning to employ a control card system in the island

DENR would only allow up to 19,000 tourists a day who would be required to pass through service operators for monitoring.

Once we hit the critical mark then that’s a red flag for us already to say they have to be able to present their reservations for the hotels that are compliant so that we can advise the hotels that we are already over the limit,” said Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores.

The number of vehicles on the island will also be trimmed down and old tricycles will be replaced with e-trikes.  Hotels, meanwhile, will only be allowed with one service vehicle.

The agency will set up its own satellite office in the island that will ensure that the regulations are strictly followed.

Hotels are subject to performance monitoring and evaluations especially in terms of waste disposal management.

Floating piers will be set up during the soft opening to make it easier for tourists to reach their destination on the island.

A dry run of the soft opening will be held on October 15. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from JL Asayo)

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Over 200 individuals likely to face court over illegal mining activities in Agusan del Sur

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

 

Entrance to an illegal mining site in Agusan del Sur

 

AGUSAN DEL SUR, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is planning to file charges against operators of an illegal mining site in Barangay Consuelo in the municipal town of Rosario.

Recently, a team composed of representatives from the DENR Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), inspected the site.

The operation was intended to demolish all 12 illegal small-scale mining sites in the area.

The DENR said risk of soil erosion is high in the area because the ground is overly saturated.

“Ang mga area na dito ay delikado na po. Nanganganib na magkaroon ng landslide dahil po ang ground stability po ng area ay humina na po dahil sa dami ng hukay na isinasagawa dito sa ilalim,” said DENR-Caraga spokesperson, Herzon Gallego.

It was the second time that the DENR held an operation in an attempt to close the mining sites.

The DENR ordered closure of the illegal mining sites in Barangay Consuelo in June following the issuance of a cease and desist order from the Agusan del Sur government due to lack of environmental compliant permit.

But the operation on Monday (December 3) was deferred after angry residents blocked the operating team from striking down the structures. Authorities decided to postpone the operation to prevent chaos.

“Ini-explain namin ang aming objective pero hindi po sila nakinig. Tinutulan nila. Sa nakikita naming situation, baka magkagulo at maraming mamatay. Minabuti na mag cool down; dadaanin nalang siguro sa kaso,” explained Gallego.

The DENR revealed that miners are able to dig up to 20 kilograms of gold each month form the mining sites. This volume is equivalent to P7 million  in monetary value. This is the reason why the residents are adamant against the closure.

But the DENR clarified that the demolition of the mining sites does not mean the residents will be driven away from their homes.

“Layunin ng gobyerno na ma proteksyunan lang ang mga tao pero wala pong inuutos na palayasin ang mga tao doon. Sa area na maapektuhan, iyon lang po ang sinabihan ng MGB sa barangay captain (na umalis),” Gallego said.

Small-scale mining is allowed under the Philippine Mining Act but with certain provisions.

Because of the massive resistance from the miners, the DENR is now drafting a case to file against them for violations.

“Theft siguro dahil ninanakaw nila ang resources natin na walang pahintulot sa gobyerno. Hindi sila nagbabayad ng tax (so) tax evasion. Marami pong mga possibilities na paglabag sa batas na pinag aaralan po ng ating mga lawyers,” noted Gallego.

Meanwhile, agencies like the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) are willing to provide an alternative source of income to miners and their families who are likely to be affected by the mining closure. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Raymond Octobre)

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Reduced tour size, stricter policy over small, big lagoons take effect in El Nido

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, November 26th, 2018

 

 

 

 

El Nido Lagoon in Palawan

 

PALAWAN ISLAND, Philippines – After days of dry run, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has begun limiting the number of tourists entering the small and big lagoons in El Nido.

Entry to the small lagoon is limited only to 40 persons on 20 kayaks for every 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, entry to the big lagoon is limited only to 80 tourists on a total of 40 kayaks for every one hour and 30 minutes.

Prior to entry, tourists must secure first a permit from DENR’s Protected Area Management Office (PAMO). From there, they will be given small flags that indicate their batch or travel time.

Tourists embark and disembark at the outside entrance of the lagoons. They may rent a kayak at P200 each or they may prefer to swim in order to enter the lagoons.

Each lagoon is manned by DENR park rangers and coast guard personnel who ensure that the policies are strictly followed.

Cooking, littering and bringing in intoxicating liquor is strictly prohibited in any part of the island.

From their observation, El Nido-Taytay PAMO Assistant Superintendent Carolyn Esmenda said the dry run have been successful except for delays as some tour batches did not launch on time.

Several tourists were no longer allowed entry due to time constraint.

“When we came there around 11 o’clock, medyo maraming tao sa loob ng small lagoon. Nakita natin ang ilang mga factor na nagcontribute nito. Ang iba tinatanong natin kung anong oras sila dapat, mas maaga sila but they came later so nagpatong patong ang ilang batches na dapat magkakahiwalay. Maybe hindi pa sila nasanay to wake up early and for the tourist (guides) also na ipunin ang kailang mga turista ng mas maaga,” Esmena explained.

But overall, Esmenda said all tour agencies adhered with the new policies.

The local government, meanwhile, is conducting an assessment of the situation to identify areas of improvement before it releases the final guidelines to be implemented over small and big lagoons and in other tourist destinations in El Nido. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Grace Casin)

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DENR to investigate structures directly disposing wastewater to sea in El Nido

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

El Nido, Palawan

PALAWAN ISLAND, Philippines – Environment Undersecretary Jonas Leones is convinced that there is a clear violation of the Clean Water Act based on UNTV’s exclusive report on an area in Barangays Buenas Suerte and Masagana in El Nido.

The aerial shot of the area captured the murky water coming from a creek and heads directly to the sea.

Leones said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will immediately launch an investigation into the matter.

“So pwede silang after issuance ng notice of violation and then giving them time to rectify ang violation. Kung hindi pa rin sila sumunod they will be issued ng Pollution Mitigation Board ng DENR ng closure order. Cease and desist order kaagad iyan. Mabilis iyan,” Leones noted.

The official said they have already discussed the matter with representatives from the Department of the Interiors and Local Government (DILG), the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the local government unit of El Nido.

He added that household and establishment owners violating the law will definitely pay a penalty of up to P100,000 a day until their violation is solved.

In line with the ongoing rehabilitation in El Nido, Leones said several sub-structures that violated the easement policy in the area already opted to self-demolish.

He added that there is already an outstanding order for all household and establishment owners to stop disposing wastewater directly into the sea.

“Even if wala pang action ang local government units for violation of the Clean Water Act, the DENR or through the EMB can already act on those violations,” Leones said,

The rehabilitation is in response to the order of President Rodrigo Duterte similar to his directive on Boracay Island.

“Dapat maalarma na sila because this problem has already reached the president. The president has already directed the three agencies to undertake rehabilitation and i- address na yung environmental deterioration diyan sa island na yan,” Leones added.

The DENR warned that if irresponsible wastewater disposal continues, El Nino will turn into a cesspool like Boracay in only a matter of five to ten years. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Cathy Maglalang)

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