By ERWIN MASCARIÑAS
CANTILAN, Surigao del Sur – Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Monday spearheaded the demolition of an illegal structure that breached the easement zone in Siargao.
Cimatu and Año led officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in demolishing a function hall at Cabontug Resort in in General Luna.
The resort is owned by the General Luna town government.
Cimatu warned that establishments that have been identified and have been sent orders to self-demolish illegal structures should follow or else.
“Aside from the violation on the easement, I was able to observe some violations in Siargao, especially with regard to solid waste management. Another is that they don’t have any sanitary landfill,” Cimatu said.
He said there were about 600 families living near the waters. Their wastes, he said, directly go to the sea, and “it is unbecoming for a tourist destination.”
He added: “I asked the governor to do something about this.”
Cimatu said the government has no plan to close down Siargao, but the environment department would strictly implement environmental laws there.
Año said the intervention of the national government in Siargao is to prevent the tourist destination from becoming another Boracay. “We are not here to close Siargao but to make it sustainable for everyone.”
Felix Alicer, DENR director for Caraga, said the Task Force Siargao investigated about 1,298 establishments there, and found 391 establishments that breached the legal easement zone. “We will give them time to self-demolish. Two months… Hopefully, they will follow,” said Alicer.