By Chito Chavez
On strict orders of an irate President Duterte to clean Boracay within six months, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu today ordered the immediate closure of 300 establishments found noncompliant with environmental laws particularly the absence of a sewage system.
Cimatu issued the announcement at the launch of the Green Film Festival at Cinema 2 of the SM North Edsa in Quezon City.
The festival is an environment project for college and high school students of the DENR, Commission on Higher Education and SM Cares, the corporate social responsibility arm of SM Prime Holdings Inc.
Cimatu said he has already instructed his regional director in the island to serve the notice of closure to some 300 establishments found to have not connected with the sewage system and with no proper water system.
“I have already ordered the regional director to start closing the establishments that are noncompliant. Ibig sabihin lahat ng mga establishment na hindi nag-comply kasi meron kami yung environment office namin na similar we have now here I gave them a mission to go to the resorts and see kung sino ang nakakonekta sa sewage system at kung sino ang hindi naka-comply. So effective today ipapa-close ko yun ngayon,” Cimatu said.
“So we expect this will continue until we are able to solve the problem in Boracay pati ang wastewater and water doon na ginagamit. Ayoko na hindi matupad na utos ni Presidente. Inutos ko na ito sa regional director so expect na umpisa na itong ating campaign. I’m cleaning the environmental of problem of Boracay starting with the sewage system,” he added.
He said the regional office in Boracay has identified at least 300 establishments up for closure because they are not connected to the sewage system.
“I have instructed my regional director there na ibigay na ang notice of violation sa mga establishment. Then mag-usap-usap sila kung talagang wala na, isasarado na yan ngayon din. Kasi meron kami na listahan na hindi nakakonekta (sa sewage system) at yung tubig nila bumubukas na lang doon eto na ngayon ang uunahin ko,” he said.
The 300 establishment comprise 40 percent of the total number of establishments in the island.
In accordance with his mission to clean up Boracay, Cimatu also inspected the wastewater system of the SM North Edsa to give him an idea on how to properly implement a proper wastewater facility in the island.
“Tinanong kung ilan ang comfort rooms dito sa SM at sabi ay more than 40 daw e maganda daw ang ginagawa at yung wastewater facility nila na tinitreat nila bago ilagay ulit sa lines sa MWSS, Maynilad at Manila Waters. So I’d like to see for myself para masabi ko sa kanila sa Boracay na you also can do it,” he said.
Cimatu also said he had already instructed his DENR undersecretaries to meet with the Ayala group since the company is the concessionaire of the wastewater system in Boracay.
Cimatu also vowed to complete the cleanup within the six months given to him by the President.
“Kakayanin ko talaga kasi katulad ng mga estudyante na binigyan sila ng oras na mag-aral sa school, ‘finish or not finish pass your paper.’ Parang ganun lang sa akin yun. I have to do my best to complete it within 6 months,” he said.