By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is more bent on enforcing the law against litterbugs, as it found trash left by tourists along Boracay’s beachfront during its first day of soft opening.
DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Concerns Benny Antiporda said adopting a “zero tolerance policy” against litterbugs is the best way to prevent littering problems on the island.
He said that being compliant means “you have love for our environment, and that is what we want to reinforce.”
The DENR official issued the statement after meeting with Compliant Association of Boracay (CAB), a newly established group whose members include owners of hotels, resorts, retail shops, and restaurants.
Antiporda also announced that the DENR and other government agencies in charge of Boracay’s rehabilitation are amenable to CAB’s proposal to designate its pollution officers as “marshals” so they can have authority to go after litterbugs.
“We will talk with the local police so that you can do your obligation to your country to protect the environment,” Antiporda told the CAB members.
He also enjoined them to use their social media accounts to come up with a joint statement to remind people to be responsible.
The DENR, he said, is also encouraging citizen’s arrest for litterbugs.
CAB had earlier written DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu requesting that their pollution officers be deputized as “Boracay marshals” to police public areas on the island.
As marshals, the CAB said their pollution officers would be on the lookout for litterers and “shall remind the public to dispose of the trash properly.”
It added that “should the erring public refuse to cooperate, the marshalls may be the personal details of the individual(s) and endorse to policing agencies in Boracay.”
Antiporda reminded the public that under the Anti-Littering Law, littering is a criminal offense and violators could face a fine or render community service from eight to 16 hours.
He noted that under Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, establishments are required to designate a pollution control officer who shall ensure compliance with the law, among others.