DENR orders 49 Siargao businesses to address environmental violations

MANILA, Philippines – Siargao Island, a popular surfing destination in the Philippines, is next in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) crackdown on business establishments violating environmental laws.

On Tuesday, March 20, the DENR announced it has ordered 49 business establishments in Siargao to address their environmental violations after they were identified by the department's regional office in Caraga following a two-month survey of tourism establishments in the island.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu lauded DENR-Caraga's "quick action" in "[separating] those who are compliant with environmental laws and those who are not."

"Siargao is still one of the country's best tourist destinations, but if we want to sustain its viability as an international surfing capital, we must show that we are all helping to protect and conserve its environment," he added.

According to DENR-Caraga, 49 out of 148 business establishments (mostly resorts and restaurants) in Siargao, have been given notices for violating either the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, or the Environmental Impact Statement System.

The violations include failure to secure an environmental compliance certificate (ECC), and absence of sewage treatment facilities.

"By the end of the month, they aim to finish serving [notices of violations], conducting the associated technical conferences, and determining whether to elevate the case to the Pollution Adjudication Board," Cimatu explained.

Environmental officers in Caraga also identified other problems threatening Siargao:

In 1996, former president Fidel Ramos declared Siargao Island and its terrestrial, wetland, and marine areas as protected areas under the category of protected landscape and seascape.

Aside from Siargao, the DENR has also begun its crackdown on erring business establishments located in Boracay Island, Panglao Island, and El Nido. – Rappler.com

Siargao image via Shutterstock