NO STOP­PING DE­MO­LI­TION OF BO­RA­CAY HO­TEL–ROQUE

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - REGIONS - —RE­PORTS FROM CHRISTINE O. AVENDAÑO AND NESTOR P. BUR­GOS JR. INQ

The gov­ern­ment has not is­sued any order stop­ping the de­mo­li­tion of the con­tro­ver­sial West Cove Re­sort on Bo­ra­cay Is­land, pres­i­den­tial spokesper­son Harry Roque said on Thurs­day.

In a ra­dio in­ter­view, Roque said he talked to In­te­rior and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Sec­re­tary Ed­uardo Año who told him the de­mo­li­tion of the re­sort ho­tel was on­go­ing.

“So there is no sus­pen­sion in the de­mo­li­tion and this (de­mo­li­tion) is a pri­or­ity be­cause we all know West Cove be­came a sym­bol of all laws and or­di­nances that were done away with,” he said.

Re­minder

Roque un­der­scored the im­por­tance of re­mov­ing the re­sort from Bo­ra­cay or this would “serve as a re­minder that there was a time that all the laws and pro­cesses and even au­thor­i­ties were not fol­lowed.”

The Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources had can­celed West Cove’s per­mit to use for­est land for tourism due to al­leged vi­o­la­tions.

In Aklan prov­ince, Crisos­tomo Aquino, owner of West Cove, asked au­thor­i­ties to sus­pend the de­mo­li­tion of his re­sort’s re­main­ing struc­tures pend­ing a de­ci­sion on an ap­peal he filed in the Of­fice of the Pres­i­dent.

Clo­sure

The re­sort ran a 998square meter area un­der the For­est Land Use Agree­ment for Tourism Pur­poses (FLAgT) with DENR, but which the DENR can­celed on Sept. 12, 2014, when it dis­cov­ered the re­sort had been build­ing struc­tures in ar­eas not cov­ered by the agree­ment.

After the il­le­gal struc­tures were de­mol­ished, the DENR al­lowed the re­sort to con­tinue op­er­a­tion but the mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment of Malay in March closed the re­sort for fail­ing to pay its busi­ness and other lo­cal per­mits.

The lo­cal gov­ern­ment de­mol­ished struc­tures in the re­sort and cut its power and wa­ter sup­plies.

Aquino de­cried the move, say­ing the de­mo­li­tion was not cov­ered by a court order.

Rowen Aguirre, mu­nic­i­pal ex­ec­u­tive as­sis­tant for Bo­ra­cay af­fairs, said the re­sort was op­er­at­ing with­out busi­ness, build­ing, oc­cu­pancy and san­i­tary per­mits. The re­sort was also con­structed on a no-build zone.

Aguirre, how­ever, said the de­mo­li­tion was sus­pended last week due to the short­age of funds of the lo­cal gov­ern­ment.

“We will re­sume when the sup­ple­men­tary bud­get of the mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment is passed,” he told the In­quirer.

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