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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Lawmakers file resolution to probe ‘illegal’ Bohol resort

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A group of legislators on Monday filed a resolution urging the House of Representatives to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the construction and operation of a resort located within the world heritage site Chocolate Hills in Sagbayan, Bohol.

The lawmakers led by Deputy Speaker and ACT-CIS Rep. Erwin Tulfo filed House Resolution 1652, with ACTCIS party- list Reps. Edvic Yap and Jocelyn Tulfo and two other solons Benguet Rep. Eric Yap and Quezon City Rep. Ralph Wendel Tulfo.

“May mananagot dito, kailangang may managot dito (Somebody should be held responsible),” Tulfo said in a statement, referring to the Captain’s Peak Resort located within the world-famous Chocolate Hills.

In the resolution, the lawmakers cited the Proclamation 1037 of July 1997, declaring “the Chocolate Hills as a natural monument and restrained inappropriate exploitation there at, regardless of private rights therein, in order to maintain its natural beauty.”

“Hayagang pangbabastos ito sa ating likas na yaman. Ang tanong dito ay paano pinayagan at sino ang pumayag na maipatayo ang isang resort sa lugar na dapat ay ating pino-protektahan. Kaya dapat itong tutukan at ma-imbestigahan ng Kongreso,” Tulfo added.

(“This is a blatant defilement of our natural resources. The question is how it was and who allowed the construction of that resort in a protected area.   That is why this is investigated closely in Congress.”)

The resolution added that the Chocolate Hills are likewise protected and integrated into the National Integrated Protected Areas System under Republic Act 7586, as amended, which prohibited “mutilating, defacing, or destroying objects of natural beauty, or objects of interest to cultural communities” as well as “constructing of maintaining any kind of structure, fence or enclosures, conducting any business enterprise without a permit.”

It can be recalled that a viral photo circulated in the social media showing that the said resort was constructed and operational on the very foot of the Chocolate Hills.

Aerial views of the resort showed swimming pools, slides, cottages, and other buildings were constructed in the area.

It was also learned from the owner of the said resort that the construction underwent the proper procedures and even the approval and favorable endorsement from the Protected Areas Management Board (PAMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

A business permit was also secured from the Sagbayan municipal hall without an Environment Compliance Certificate (ECC), which was even renewed as recent as Jan. 9, this year, under the presumption that the resort had all the proper accreditation.

“The construction of the Captain’s Peak Garden and Resort raises serious concerns on possible avenues for the circumvention of laws and issuances on building, business and environmental permits,

certification, or licenses in the guise of tourism economic development,” the resolution also said.

“There is an utmost need to ensure that the natural monuments and UNESCO World Heritage sites of the Philippines are preserved, maintained,” the resolution stated.

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