The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has given commercial establishments releasing untreated wastewater and sewage into the waters of the island of Boracay up to two months to connect to sewage treatment systems.
Failure to comply will mean closure.
Roy Cimatu, DENR secretary, said establishments must connect to the sewage treatment plant of Boracay Island Water Co. or install their own wastewater treatment facilities.
Cimatu’s warning came after President Duterte ordered the DENR to find ways to end problems besetting Boracay which he described as a “cesspool.” The President gave Cimatu six months to clean up one of the country’s top tourist destination or else the entire island will be shut down.
Cimatu said only 50 to 60 percent of all establishments in Boracay are compliant to the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 while the rest direct their pipes to the canals which drain to the sea.
He said a notice of violation will soon be issued to establishments that are illegally connected or are not connected at all to the sewage treatment plant.
“We will give these establishments three to five days to respond. Otherwise, we will cut their water connections,” Cimatu said.
He said the DENR will also go after resort owners which have constructed buildings within areas classified as forestlands.
“Forestlands are no-build zones. What they have done is against the law,” Cimatu said.
The DENR will no longer issue environmental compliance certificates in Boracay to prevent the construction of new buildings there.
Cimatu also reminded the municipal government of Malay in Aklan province of its responsibility to protect and preserve the world-famous Boracay island through strict implementation of pertinent environmental laws and regulations.
“The local government of Malay has direct jurisdiction and supervision over Boracay. It is the primary government unit responsible in ensuring that all laws, environmental or otherwise, are executed and followed,” Cimatu said.
He instructed DENR Region 6 director Jim Sampulna to evaluate the 300 establishments and if found violating the laws and regulations, to immediately issue notices of violation.
At present, 51 establishments have been issued notices.