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Charges to be filed vs LGU execs found liable for Boracay’s woes

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will file administrative and criminal charges against government officials, who would be found liable for Boracay’s environmental woes, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement the other day.
“We are expediting this and we will go where the evidence brings us,” Año said. “The local government is accountable for the crisis faced by Boracay. They should have enforced environmental laws as well as their own local ordinances.”
Año said the ongoing investigation of the DILG with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources will look into the possible liability of local government officials who issued building permits, occupancy permits, and even business permits despite non-compliance with applicable laws and issuances.
“The presence of commercial establishments even beyond the prescribed distance from the coastline would not be possible without building and construction permits issued by the LGU. It is their lookout,” Año said.
“Why did the LGU allow establishments to be built in areas classified as forest lands? Why did the Barangay issue the necessary clearances? This we intend to find out and soon,” he added.
The DILG chief has enjoined the local government of Malay, Aklan, which has jurisdiction over Boracay Island, to cooperate with the investigation.
Año made the call after President Duterte issued a warning to close Boracay if it is not cleaned up within six months.
He said the President’s threat to file charges against the local government for serious neglect of “duty is a much-needed wake-up call” to both the LGU and business establishments who share the responsibility of preserving the top tourism destination of the country.
Meanwhile, the President’s order to clean up top tourist destination Boracay Island can be done within the six-month period.
“That target is doable,” said National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) Secretariat executive director Eligio Ildefonso.
Ildefonso noted that the cooperation of stakeholders in the popular resort island to curb pollution would be key in cleaning it up within the specified period.
“NSWMC personnel were able to clear a dumpsite there in less than a month last year so more can be done if everyone in Boracay will help clean up and avoid worsening pollution in that island,” he said.
Ildefonso raised urgency for a quick action in cleaning up the island, saying he observed solid wastes along parts of Boracay’s shores during low tide.
He reiterated the need for Boracay establishments’ connection to proper waste disposal and treatment facilities so pollution in the island can decrease.
Earlier, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu said the agency would spearhead Boracay Island’s transformation. The agency reported issuing notices of violation to 51 establishments there for not complying with RA 9275 (Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004). The law requires all commercial and residential establishments to dispose septic waste through a treatment facility, noted DENR.
Ildefonso reminded local government units anew to comply with the country’s environmental regulations. LGUs nationwide are primarily responsible for environmental compliance in respective areas of jurisdiction, he added. 

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