DENR to probe its officials on Boracay mess

THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Western Visayas is open to the idea of probing its officials who failed to do their job in protecting Boracay Island.

DENR-Western Visayas Director Jim Sampulna welcomes the Undersecretary and Chief of Staff Rodolfo Garcia’s proclamation to call out the said officials with the help of Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the investigation of the local government units in Aklan.

“We welcome the move of the higher management to exact full accountability from the erring officials that contributed to the Boracay mess. Indeed, heads must roll and let the axe fall where it should fall,” Sampulna said.

Two bureaus of DENR namely, Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) have mandates and sets of environmental regulation to apply and for the monitoring of these establishments.

The MGB implements the Philippine Mining Act (RA 7942). It is also the bureau that provides Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) to the establishments categorized as Environmentally Critical Projects.

It also implements the following environmental laws: Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Law (P.D. 1586); Toxic Substances and Hazardous Waste Management Act (RA 6969); Clean Air Act (RA 8749); Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003); Clean Water Act (RA 9275); Environmental Awareness and Education Act (RA 9512).

The DENR have started to implement President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to clean-up Boracay.

As of March 8, there were 352 notice of violations (NOV) has been issued by the EMB.

These were the establishments who disobeyed the RA 9275 Clean Water Act of 2004, RA 8749 Clean Air Act of 1999 and Philippine Environmental Impact Statement System will receive NOVs.

These establishments were considered to own expired or no discharge permits, lack of permit to operate and no Environmental Compliance Certificate.

They have also distributed 842 Show Cause Orders to illegal forest occupants.

“We will never let up in our efforts as there is a strong mandate from the president to clean up Boracay. The accountable ones will answer in proper forum but as long as we can we will continue with the clean-up as this is no time to let our guard down,” Sampulna said. (Carolyn Jane Abello)