Will Panglao Island in Bohol face closure similar to what happened to Boracay Island?
This may be possible because of the low compliance in the implementation of the coastal easement and improvement of water treatment facilities to prevent further contamination in the island’s seawater there.
In an interview with Bohol Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) head Charlie Fabre, he revealed that until now compliance for such measures is still low.
On the quality of seawater there, Fabre said it continues to fluctuate from below 100 most probable number (MPN) per fecal coliform contamination to 500 MPN or 600 MPN.
The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 7 has set the standards to 100 MPN for the quality of seawater in order for it to be declared as clean and safe for bathing.
On the coastal easement, there are only 18 out of the 87 establishments who have volunteered to demolish their structures. The other establishment was demolished upon the order of the local government unit of Panglao.
Most of the 19 establishments were owned by big resorts there, Fabre added.
The remaining 71, according to Fabre, are still slowly implementing their share on the rehabilitation of the island while citing added costs and the limited space in their area as some factors that cause the delay.
However, the deadline for the implementation was until May this year. The first deadline was last April to June 2018 and the second extension was in November 2018 until May.
“Wala nami mahimo og unsa’y decision sa DENR Central Office (We can’t do anything on whatever decision the DENR Central Office has),” Fabre said in a telephone interview.
The local government unit of Panglao sent letters to request for consideration but Fabre said they have no authority to decide on this from their level.
Fabre shared that DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu has always been asking for updates in Panglao island.
For their part, Fabre said they have been sending monthly reports to the DENR regional office in Cebu City. It is their regional office that sendsthe reports to their Central Office in Manila.
He added it will be up to them to decide if there is a need to close the island for rehabilitation to take place.
PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION
The island of Panglao is known for its pristine white sand beaches and crystal clear waters similar to what Boracay has to offer.
But closure in Boracay Island was triggered by the continuous neglect of environmental laws not just by tourists but as well as the resort owners there.
Bohol Gov. Arthur Yap, according to Fabre, said he wouldn’t want this to happen to Panglao.
Fabre said Yap has even offered to improve their water quality equipment at the Provincial Health Office so they can have even weekly monitoring of the water quality of the island.
Yap earlier requested the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) to conduct a weekly quality monitoring but Fabre said this would entail a lot of costs and would take time as samples needed to be transported to their laboratory in Cebu.
PRIVATE COMPANIES OFFERING HELP
With the absence of a septage and sewerage facility in Panglao, this challenge also slows down their full swing of implementation.
Fabre said that only the big resorts have so far complied with this.
To help them out, Fabre said there were already two private companies that offered their services to the island.
One is Mactan Rock Company, water supplier in Panglao, and Enviro Consu based in Dauis.
However, their facilities would have to take two to six months to complete.
PENRO Fabre now leaves it up to the hands of the resort owners as to the fate of their business establishments. //