MANILA — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will file administrative and criminal charges against government officials, who would be found liable for Boracay’s environmental woes, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement Thursday.
“We are expediting this and we will go where the evidence brings us,” Año said.”The local government is accountable for the crisis faced by Boracay. They should have enforced environmental laws as well as their own local ordinances.”
Año said the ongoing investigation of the DILG with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources will look into the possible liability of local government officials who issued building permits, occupancy permits, and even business permits despite non-compliance with applicable laws and issuances.
“The presence of commercial establishments even beyond the prescribed distance from the coastline would not be possible without building and construction permits issued by the LGU. It is their lookout,” Año said.
“Why did the LGU allow establishments to be built in areas classified as forest lands? Why did the Barangay issue the necessary clearances? This we intend to find out and soon,” he added.
The DILG chief has enjoined the local government of Malay, Aklan, which has jurisdiction over Boracay Island, to cooperate with the investigation.
Año made the call after President Rodrigo Duterte issued a warning to close Boracay if it is not cleaned up within six months.
He said the President’s threat to file charges against the local government for serious neglect of “duty is a much-needed wakeup call” to both the LGU and business establishments who share the responsibility of preserving the top tourism destination of the country. DILG-northboundasia.com