DENR prepares charges against owners of hidden pipes in Boracay

in File Photo: A worker signals a backhoe operator during a pipeline laying project along the Boracay beachfront.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has identified the business establishments that are illegally discharging untreated wastewater in Boracay through hidden pipes.

The DENR is now preparing charges against the owners of the illegal pipes in violation of Republic Act (RA) 9275, or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004.

In a statement, Environment  Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said owners of these erring establishments will be penalized accordingly.

The DENR is in the process of tracing and verifying the owners of the hidden pipes, whom Cimatu said will face severe penalties under the law.

“We will not hesitate to file appropriate charges against these erring establishments and base these charges on all the violations we can possibly identify against them, with the maximum penalty, for contributing to the deterioration of Boracay,” Cimatu said.

Under the law, any person who commits any of the “prohibited acts” or violates the provisions of RA 9275 could be fined by the secretary of the DENR upon the recommendation of the Pollution Adjudication Board, in the amount of not more than P200,000 for every day of violation.

Depending on the gravity of the offense, the DENR secretary could issue a closure order against the owner of the establishment.

The blatant disregard of such orders and penalties could lead to the filing of criminal charges against violators.

On May 25 the DENR—together with representatives from the Aklan provincial government and 100 soldier trainees from the 3rd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army— excavated illegal pipes along Boracay’s white-sand beach.

The statement said 26 hidden pipes were unearthed, although DENR Undersecretary Jonas R. Leones said more than 40 pipes were discovered, and 28 were unearthed.

Of the 28, he said water from 21 pipes tested positive for coliform bacteria.

According to the DENR, the pipes were situated near the vicinity of 16 establishments along the beach.

Some of the source-establishments have been confirmed, the DENR said.

Meanwhile, two establishments have been issued notices of violation after water sampling by the Environmental Management Bureau  confirmed they were discharging untreated wastewater. These are the Dive Gurus (two pipes) and Sand Bar (two pipes).

Some pipes were traced to Water Colors (one pipe), Hoy Panga (three pipes), La Fiesta (one pipe) and Manana Mexican Cuisine (one pipe).

Other pipes were discovered at the following locations: two pipes in front of Dive Gurus; one before the sewer manhole at Ocean Club/Jungco Corp.; one pipe at Bamboo Bungalow; one pipe leading to the beach in between Blue Waves Beach House and Discovery Shores; two at Ambassador in Paradise; and one pipe at the boundary of Hennan Prime and La Brisas de Boracay.

The sources of some of the pipes are still to be traced.  These include one pipe in front of the tiangge area; one downspout connected to the culvert and two pipes leading to the beach near Hennan Regency; three pipes in front of Li Shui Chinese Restaurant; and one pipe in front of The Lindt.

 

 

Image Credits: AP/Aaron Favila

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Jonathan L. Mayuga is a journalist for more than 15 years. He is a product of the University of the East – Manila. An awardee of the J. G. Burgos Biotech Journalism Awards, BrightLeaf Agricultural Journalism Awards, Binhi Agricultural Journalism Awards, and Sarihay Environmental Journalism Awards.

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