Itogon resort owners given ultimatum

ITOGON, Benguet  – Some twenty resort owners from this municipality were warned by the Cordillera office of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB-CAR) to comply with the requirements of existing environmental laws, rules and regulations for them to continue their operations or face permanent closure in the future.

EMB-CAR regional director Reynaldo S. Digamo recently met with the resort owners and emphasized to them the importance of strictly adhering to the requirements of environmental laws, rules and regulations to guarantee that their facilities do not contribute in the pollution of the various waterways where they discharge their waste water aside from complying with the installation of the necessary control measures for better water quality emanating from their swimming pools.

“We learned that a good number of resorts had been existing for over a decade now without complying with the standards prescribed by existing environmental laws, rules and regulations. We want to help the resort owners if they are willing to help themselves because we understand their predicament that the operation of the recreational facilities is their source of livelihood. They should also understand that what we are doing is for their own good and for the sake of the preservation and protection of our environment,” Director Digamo stressed.

The EMB-CAR official pointed out based on their agreement, all the existing owners shall have secured their Environmental Compliance Certificates (ECC) within a month simultaneous with the hiring of their own pollution control officers (PCOs) which could be done by clusters of five so as not too taxing and tedious on their part.

Further, it was also agreed by the EMB-CAR officials and resort owners that the resorts will have their own septic tanks pursuant to prevailing standards which will be constructed in close coordination with the municipal engineering office to allow them to be able to secure the required discharged permit within a 3-month grace period.

Digamo emphasized that the septic tanks should also be compliant to the requirements that it should be 3-chamber and non-leaching tanks to prevent the unnecessary seepage of the waste water to the nearby river systems that will defeat the purpose of the presence of the said tanks within the resorts.

Based on the findings of the EMB-CAR technical personnel, the resort owners source their water for their recreational facilities from level 1300 and subsequently discharge their waste water to the Ambalanga river which is actually in clear violation of existing environmental laws, rules and regulations, thus, the need for the concerned government agencies and the local government to institute the appropriate corrective measures before the imposition of the appropriate sanctins against erring resort owners.

Digamo also noted that one of the major violations of the resort owners is the absence of their required water rights to use the State’s resources for business purposes that is why the EMB-CAR will be extending to the resort owners the needed technical assistance for them to adhere to the prevailing standards of the industry that will guarantee the sustained efforts to preserve and protect the state of  the environment in the place and not to wait for outsiders to pinpoint their violations that will eventually lead to the subsequent permanent closure of their existing recreational facilities which is one of the major attractions in the locality. By HENT

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