Cimatu: No one is above the law

September 28, 2019
Roy Cimatu

“I HAVE made it clear from Day 1 that no one is above the law!”

This was stressed by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu following the issuance of an interim Cease and Desist Order (CDO) against the Boracay Tubi Systems, Inc. (BTSI) for discharging wastewater in the waters of Boracay Island.

Atty. Ramar Niel Pascua  DENR-Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Western Visayas Regional Director, issued the CDO after the wastewater discharged by the BTSI was tested positive for fecal coliform.

The CDO shall be effective for seven days unless confirmed by the Pollution Adjudication Board in such case it shall become a regular CDO.

Cimatu said all environmental laws have to be strictly enforced because their primary purpose is to protect our environment and natural resources.

“We will appropriately deal with the people responsible for this violation,” stressed Cimatu who is chair of the Boracay Inter-agency Task Force created by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte through Executive Order 53 to reverse the degradation of Boracay Island.   

In an inspection conducted by personnel of EMB, an outfall pipe was seen to be discharging a large volume of yellowish water.

The wastewater discharge was traced from BTSI’s one (1) kilometer outfall pipe from Lugutan area in Brgy Manoc-Manoc in the island to Sibuyan Sea. Sinkers were placed on the outfall pipe to secure it and prevent it from floating. It was found to be almost 13 kilometers below the water surface.

Laboratory Analysis results revealed that fecal coliform and phosphate from the water sample and residue taken have exceeded the General Effluent Standards maximum allowable limit for Class SC marine water body per DENR Administrative Order No. 2016-08 or the Water Quality Guidelines and Effluent Standards of 2016.

The sample collected had a fecal coliform of 3,500 most probable number per 100 ml (MPN/100ml) against an effluent standard for Class SC water of 400 MPN/100ml. On the other hand, Phosphate was at 2.250 mg P/L against the standard of one (1) mg P/L level.

Earlier, a video of a pawikan or sea turtle sticking its head into the pipe outlet was posted in social media by a Korean diving instructor.

On Aug. 14, 2019, Cimatu ordered the cordoning of the beachfront area in Station 1 after two female foreign nationals—one allowing child to defecate in Boracay’s waters and the other burying a used diaper in the white sand – also circulated on social media.

President Rodrigo Duterte  ordered the closure of Boracay Island in April 2018 after he described its water as a cesspool. The famous island reopened in October 2018 after a six-month rehabilitation.

Boracy Island is surrounded by Sibuyan Sea in the east and Sulu Sea in the west.

BTSI is one of the two water utility companies in Boracay Island.