Outgoing local executives who have failed to implement the environmental laws are not yet “off the hook.”

This was stressed today by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny Antiporda, following the issuance of cease-and-desist orders (CDOs) to 10 hotels and restaurants found polluting Bacuit Bay in El Nido, Palawan.

El Nido is one of the country’s tourism hot spots undergoing massive rehabilitation along with Boracay and Manila Bay.

“There are only a minimal number of local government units who followed the instruction to temporarily revoke the mayor’s permit of violators, that’s why there is a need to show some force on irresponsible local executives,” Antiporda said.

According to Antiporda, the response of local government to temporarily suspend the mayor’s permit of erring establishments in their respective political jurisdiction once the DENR has submitted its lists of violators is crucial to prevent further contamination of waterways.

“We’re expecting full support coming from our local government once we have submitted our lists of violators in their respective areas. We expect them to act by temporarily suspending the mayor’s permit so as to prevent the wastewater discharge from contaminating our waterways,” Antiporda said.

Last week, the DENR-Region 4B issued CDOs to El Nido Sea Shell Resorts and Hotel in Brgy. Buena Suerte; Doublegem Beach Resort and Hotel, Buko Beach Resort, Panorama Resort (Mangonana Inc.), Four Seasons Seaview Hotel, and Stunning Republic Beach Resort, in Brgy. Corong-corong; and Sava Beach Bar/Sava Nest Egg Inc., El Nido Beach Hotel, and The Nest El Nido Resorts and Spa, Inc. in Brgy. Masagana for violation of the Clean Water Act.

Antiporda clarified, however, that the enforcement of the Clean Water Act applies not onlyon the establishments in Palawan, but in all parts of the country.

It is on this light that the DENR official is calling on the local government units to act immediately on establishments issued with CDOs by the DENR by temporarily cancelling their permitsto compel them comply with environmental laws and avoid further degradation of the environment.

“If the outgoing officials still have the chance to prove their worth to their constituents before they leave, then they should do it. Otherwise, we will file cases against them if they have neglected their duty to enforce environmental laws” Antiporda said.

According to Antiporda, once the establishments are found discharging wastewater not in accordance with prescribed standards, he said both the sources of water and of the discharge will be sealed, but said this cannot be done without the action from the local government. ###