Penro to start marking of Oslob structures violating easement zone
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) will start next week the marking of illegal structures along the shores of four barangays in Oslob town, southern Cebu that need to be torn down.
Penro Chief Rodel Bontuyan, in an interview with CDN Digital on Wednesday, March 4, 2020, said they now have personnel on the field to further orient owners of the structures on complying with the easement requirement for the coastal communities.
Oslob, a fourth income class municipality located some 118 kilometers south of Cebu City, is famous globally for its whale shark watching activity.
Being presently classified as agricultural lands, a 20-meter easement from the shoreline should have been observed in the town.
But according to a survey conducted by the Penro on shores of the 15 coastal barangays of Oslob last February, they found over 400 structures that are encroaching the 20-meter easement.
On Tuesday, March 3, the province met with 206 tourism stakeholders and structure owners of Barangays Tan-awan, Poblacion, Daanlungsod and Lagunde to discuss the situation of the easement violations.
Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, who called for the meeting, announced to the structure owners that the local government unit is working on reclassifying their barangays into urban zone in order to decrease the the easement rule to only three meters.
According to the Philippine Statistic Authority (PSA), a barangay may be classified as urban if it has a population size of 5,000 or more, has at least one establishment with a minimum of 100 employees, or if it has five or more establishments with a minimum of 10 employees.
Under the Water Code of the Philippines, the easement zone for areas classified as urban is only three meters.
“When the LGU prepares its comprehensive land use plan (CLUP), a part of it includes the classification of the barangays. Those whom we called for the meeting yesterday were from the barangays that are likely to pass the urban reclassification,” Bontuyan said.
With the presumption that the four barangays will soon be reclassified, Penro will be focusing on the clearing of only the three-meter easement from encroaching structures.
During the meeting, the structure owners agreed to voluntarily tear down their structures within the three-meter zone once marked by Penro.
Bontuyan said they have not agreed on a specific deadline for the voluntary demolition of the encroaching structures but will observe “mutual respect” and give time for the owners to tear down the structures. /bmjo
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