Palawan’s El Nido under rehabilitation, after Boracay island

Palawan’s El Nido under rehabilitation, after Boracay island

Now its El Nido, Palawan.

After guiding the world renowned Boracay island to its much needed rehabilitation, government is not sitting on its laurels.

The Duterte administration just launched the rehabilitation of another world known tourist destination- the beautiful resort town of El Nido in the province of Palawan.

Trash seen here floating in one of El Nido's top tourist draw - Secret lagoon (photo credit to original owner)

Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the rehabilitation of El Nido starts with the shutdown of 22 tourism-oriented establishments found in direct violations of existing environmental laws, most especially those structures built too close to the sea.

The difference in approach with respect to El Nido is that there will be no total shutdown of El Nido

The DOT Sec. told mediamen in Quezon city that even if total closure is not implemented, government is looking at the possibility of imposing limits on the number of tourists that can visit the town.

 Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) urged the Duterte government to study carefully the proposal to close tourist spots in the towns of  Coron and El Nido in Palawan for rehabilitation.

“The local government in El Nido, Palawan said they closed 22 establishments,” Puyat said.

Local officials of El Nido sat down and had a meeting with Sec. Puyat, Department of Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu and Secretary Eduardo Año of the Department of the Interior and Local Government(DILG) at the DILG office.

The DOT Secretary said the Palawan Interagency Task Force (PITF) composed of DOT, DENR and DILG is set to conduct rehabilitation efforts for El Nido to prevent the looming pollution problem from getting out of hand.

Consultation with stakeholders and the local government of El Nido have already started by the PITF  to chart the course of action in rehabilitating the resort town.

Discussion points or agreed upon in the series of meetings with the local government, environmental organizations and others will be the basis of the recommendation that the Palawan Task Force(PITF) will submit to President Rodrigo Duterte, DILG Sec Año said.

Total shutdown may not be necessary in rehabilitating El Nido, considering unlike Boracay the number crowds is not as big like for Boracay then before the 6 month closure.

“With the help of the local government units, we can also come up with a security task force to guard El Nido. It has 45 islands and we must secure all of those if we want to preserve El Nido as a top tourist destination,” the DILG Sec. added.

The DENR secretary has instructed additional presence of DENR personnel in El Nido and Coron  to ensure full compliance of existing environmental laws by businessmen.

“We have to be very strict in El Nido and Coron. We will dedicate a big portion of the DENR presence there to focus on environmental compliance,” Cimatu said.

“We are still finalizing the timeline for the rehabilitation program, but there will be three aspects. The environmetal compliance aspect, the DILG aspect which involves the issue of business permits and building constructions, and the tourism side,” the DENR Sec added.
About 1 million tourists visit Palawan every year, with the bulk going to the world known town resorts of El Nido and Coron.
El Nido in particular reached 200,000 tourist arrivals last year.

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Report from Philstar

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