Thu. Apr 18th, 2024

Officials Negligent in Issuing Permits for Resorts in Protected Areas of Bohol to Face Charges

Officials who carelessly granted permits for the construction and operation of resorts in the protected areas of Bohol will be charged.

This was revealed by Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos during a press briefing in the town of Carmen yesterday, March 21.

Secretary Abalos led the DILG Inspection team that visited resorts in two towns found to be in violation of environmental protection laws for constructing structures within the Chocolate Hills Natural Monument Area.

Yesterday, Abalos visited Sagbayan Peak and Captain’s Peak and Garden Resort in the town of Sagbayan, as well as the Bud Agta Viewing Deck in the town of Carmen.

According to Abalos, they already have a list of officials who committed violations of Republic Act 11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act.

However, he did not disclose their names or further details pending their final investigation report.

The Secretary added that the DILG will endorse the final report to the Office of the Ombudsman for legal action, expressing hope and belief that the said officials will be held accountable according to the law.

Based on the initial assessment, Secretary Abalos stated that the town of Sagbayan issued a building permit to the operator of Captain’s Peak and Garden Resort even without the required Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC).

He further mentioned that the Local Government Unit (LGU) based its decision on the 2018 PAMB Resolution, which allowed the owner to construct a resort with a swimming pool and accommodation in the Chocolate Hills area of Canmano, Sagbayan.

The Sagbayan LGU also granted business and mayor’s permits to the resort management to operate without an ECC.

The Secretary questioned the LGU’s decision to issue a building permit lacking the necessary documents.

Abalos and the DILG Team also reviewed the organizational structure of the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB), which needs to undergo a review of its composition, mandate, guidelines, and organizational structure.

The Secretary announced plans to convene the PAMBs of all regions and coordinate with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to strengthen the capacities of each PAMB.

Abalos assured the public that there will indeed be officials held accountable for the violations in this controversial issue.

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