DENR stands pat on STP requirement
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) stands pat on its decision requiring establishments in Boracay to put up sewerage treatment plants (STPs), either individually or in cluster, to ensure that all wastewater have undergone appropriate treatment prior to their discharge into the sea.
“The President described Boracay as a ‘cesspool’. By that word alone, he meant that the waters around the island is of very poor quality. And, indeed, it was. The concentration of e-coliform in the water samples that were put to test in the early part of our rehabilitation efforts were too high ? millions of times beyond the standard,” DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said.
Cimatu said that while he acknowledged the initiative of the local government in coming up with ordinance requiring STPs before, such ordinance had not been faithfully enforced.
“This time, the Boracay Interagency Task Force (BIATF) will make sure that the STP requirement shall be enforced fully,” Cimatu added.
“The President’s order has always been to give premium to the environment rather than to economic gains. Therefore, the STP is non-negotiable. It is one of the primary requirements for the opening of Boracay,” Cimatu stressed.
Commenting on the issues raised by certain quarters that the construction of STPs is “expensive”, the DENR chief, who also sits as chair of the BIATF, said there are government financial institutions that are willing to assist, such as the Development Bank of the Philippines and the Land Bank of the Philippines.
Meanwhile, Cimatu expressed appreciation for the support and cooperation shown by some establishments that have already put up or in the process of putting up their STPs, as well as to those who have come forward to help in the rehabilitation of the various wetlands in Boracay.
Two weeks ago, Cimatu had inked “adoption” agreements with two companies, Energy Development Corporation and Aboitiz, for the rehabilitation of Wetlands No. 2 and 4. Earlier, the Boracay Tubi System, Inc. has volunteered to adopt Wetland No. 6.
Along this line, Cimatu is appealing to other sectors to help in the rehabilitation of Boracay’s ecosystems as part of their corporate social responsibility.
“The ‘economic’ side of Boracay has been ‘gained’ by the business sector operating on the island for the past decades. This time around, give back to the environment, and give back to the next generations of Filipinos from whom we have borrowed Boracay’s splendor.” DMS