By Genalyn Kabiling
The prospect of Panglao Island is “good” compared to Boracay Island due to the recent construction of a water treatment plant in Bohol, Malacañang said Monday.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque tried to allay concerns that Panglao might suffer a shutdown similar to Boracay after its waters were reportedly found to be polluted too.
“Ang Panglao ang mabuting balita dyan yung wastewater treatment nasa ilalim mismo ng bagong airport [The good news in Pangalo is the wastewater treatment was built under the new airport],” Roque said during a Palace news conference.
“Hindi po magiging problema itong sa Panglao [It will not be a problem in Panglao] as soon as it is operational. But it’s already in place. It’s right under the new international airport of Panglao so I think, the prospects for Panglao is rather good,” he added.
Boracay, on the other hand, has a shortage of wastewater and sewage facilities needed to prevent water pollution, according to Roque.
“‘Yan ang problema ng Boracay ngayon. Meron dapat yung Boracay water na water treatment facility pero mukhang napakataas pa rin ng coliform as we all know so parang hindi sapat ang sewage treatment system ng Boracay [That’s the problem of Boracay today. Boracay Water should have a water treatment facility but the coliform content is still high as well all know so the sewage treatment system is Boracay is not yet enough],” he said.
On Mactan Island, Roque said he was not aware of any centralized water treatment facility in the area. “But the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has said (Mactan) is also in their radar,” he added.
He also assured that the DENR is expected to check the compliance of resorts in these tourist destinations to the country’s environmental laws.
“I’m almost certain that the DENR will also ensure that all the resorts are in compliance particularly with the rule that they should have their own wastewater treatment facility,” he said.
“Otherwise they should be attached to a sewage system that has a water treatment facility. ‘Yun naman talaga nakasulat sa water code [That’s stated in the water code],” he added.
An official from the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) has reportedly claimed that the waters off Mactan Island and Panglao Island were polluted. They joined Boracay as among the popular tourist islands with supposedly high coliform bacteria levels due to improper waste management.
President Duterte earlier approved the six-month closure of Boracay over concerns the island, best known for its white sand beach and crystal clear water, has become a cesspool due to sewage problems.
The island shutdown, which will begin on April 26, would allow the massive rehabilitation of the island, including dismantling of illegal structures and upgrading sewage systems.