By Ric Obedencio | 12:38 PM August 16, 2023
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Bohol is set to conduct an investigation into the alleged destruction of some of chocolate hills in Barangay Canmano in Sagbayan town, provincial board member Nathaniel O. Binlod said in his privilege speech during the session on Tuesday.
The said probe was an offshoot to The Freeman’s published report on August 14, 2023: “Defacing a national treasure: resort, other projects ruining Chocolate Hills,”
He said that there’s a need to look into this so as not to put Bohol’s Geopark status given by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), at risk.
“I urge this honorable body to join hands with the Protected Area Management Board (APMB) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources ((DENR) to conduct an examination and investigation of the defacement of the UNESCO Global Geopark, Chocolate Hills of Bohol,” Binlod said.
He said that an ocular inspection by the joint-committee on tourism and environment protection of the provincial board is set on Friday of the resort and the site where the alleged destruction of the hills took place.
He cited the news report that the identified hills have been defaced to give way to man-made structures, resort and other commercial projects. He named the “Captain’s Peak resort in said barangay, where parks, cottages at the base have been built and two hills scraped for an access road.
In his initial huddle with the resort owner, Binlod, who hails from Carmen town the center of the Chocolate Hills location, said the resort owner (whom he did not name) had already presented the development proposal to PAMB. But he did not say if the said project proposal got PAMB’s green light.
Chocolate Hills comprise of some 1,776 of conical shape and sizes spread over the towns of Carmen, Batuan, Sagbayan and other towns, according to DENR.
They’re named and protected under the Expanded National Integrated Areas Protected System (NIPAS) Act or Republic Act 7586, as amended by Republic Act No. 11038. (Ric V. Obedencio)