PB wants cases filed vs tourism operator in Kawasan who refused to demolish ‘illegal’ structures
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu Provincial Board wants the Capitol to sue a tourism operator of Kawasan Falls in Badian after the latter allegedly refused to take down its illegal structures that encroach the 20-meter easement zone.
A certain Emma Saldua, the tour operator, runs picnic sheds and cottages in the vicinity of the Kawasan Falls and Matutinao River in Barangay Matutinao, Badian town in the southwestern part of the province.
In a resolution passed by the Provincial Board on Monday, January 20, Board Member John Ismael Borogonia said the structures that were within the easement zone are considered a public nuisance and violate the Water Code of the Philippines and the Philippine Clear Water Act of 2004.
The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) recently identified a total of 32 concrete cottages, 16 comfort rooms with 18 septic tank chambers, four dressing rooms and 77 picnic sheds that violated the designated easement.
These numbers include the cottages that purportedly belong to Saldua.
On October 30, 2019, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia met with the Cooperative of tour operators of Kawasan Falls, sans Saldua. During the meeting, the cooperative members committed to take down their structures voluntarily and were given 30 days to do so.
Upon succeeding meetings, the Capitol extended the ultimatum to take down the structures to January 20, 2020.
But Saldua, according to earlier interviews with Garcia, has refused to heed the province’s ultimatum.
Aside from the structures, Saldua also allegedly violated her Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) for failing to secure a discharge permit for her cottages’ comfort rooms.
“It has also been found that Emma Saldua has constructed structures on the river which obstructs the natural flow of water in violation of the Water Code of the Philippines,” the resolution reads.
Borgonia’s resolution recommends Garcia or the Penro to file the appropriate charges against Saldua in court. /rcg
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