The camp of Beatriz Zobel de Ayala, daughter of billionaire Don Jaime Zobel, said they have vacated the timberland they allegedly occupied in Taytay town in Palawan, which is part of a large protected area.
“Ms. Beatriz Zobel de Ayala vacated the property you are referencing. She learned of the Notice to Vacate from the news, after which she immediately requested for a copy from the DENR [Department of Environment and Natural Resources] and has since been coordinating directly with them on this issue. The organic vegetables that were being grown on the land were turned over to the Indigenous Peoples of Barangay Pancol, Taytay to avoid wastage,” lawyers of Zobel’s camp said in an e-mailed statement to the BusinessMirror.
“Ms. Zobel only wishes to continue her social development endeavors in Barangay Pancol, Taytay in close cooperation with the Indigenous Peoples, the DENR and the local community.”
The Palawan’s Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office earlier said Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer Allan Valle has issued a notice to vacate to the group of Zobel de Ayala as early as March 9 for alleged violation of Republic Act 11038, or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 2018.
The investigation stemmed from a complaint filed by a tribal group about the alleged illegal occupation of and construction of structures by the group of Zobel in Sitio Maypa, Barangay Pancol, Taytay, Palawan.
The tribal group has since withdrawn their complaint, but another group—the Puerto Princesa City-Environmental Legal Assistance Center Inc.—has asked the DENR to pursue its investigation into the case.
The property, officials said, is part of Malampaya Sound Protected Landscape and Seascape which covers 200,115 hectares of both aquatic and terrestrial environment with diverse ecosystems in Palawan. It was declared a marine protected area in 2000.