DENR looks for legal basis to permanently shut down viral resort in Chocolate hills
DENR looks for legal basis to permanently shut down viral resort in Chocolate hills
DENR looks for legal basis to permanently shut down viral resort in Chocolate hills
by Ellicia Del Mundo15 March 2024
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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is looking for a legal basis to permanently shut down the controversial Captain's Peak Resort built between the Chocolate Hills in Sagbayan, Bohol.

"Pinag-aaralan namin on the legal basis lahat ng ito kung maaring mapasara na iyan at hindi na mabubuksan," DENR Secretary Toni Yolo-Loyzaga told DZRH in an interview on Friday, March 15.

According to Loyzaga, Edgar Boton, the owner of Captain's Peak Resort, had secured a land title in 2007 before the Republic Act 11038, or Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (ENIPAS) was enacted in 2018.

Under the ENIPAS Act, Chocolate Hills is listed among the 94 protected areas in the Philippines.


She also mentioned that only 13,666 out of the 13,994 hectares of land in Chocolate Hills are classified as "alienable at disposable." While the remaining 328 hectares are considered "timberland" or privately owned land.

"Ang ENIPAS Law, nire-recognize nila ang konsepto ng prior right. Kung may prior right, generally, nire-respeto 'yan. Even if you are sa loob ng PA [protected area]. So 2018, nag-PA siya [at] 2023, dineclare as Geo Park ang Bohol ng UNESCO," the DENR secretary explained.

Meanwhile, Loyzaga confirmed that it was the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB), composed of barangay captains, mayors, governor's representatives, and non-government organization representatives, that approved Boton's application to build a resort at the of the Chocolate Hills' foot.

Atty. Jaime Villamor and Atty. Handel Lagunay from the Bohol provincial government first told DZRH in a separate interview that PAMB members permitted the construction "under certain limitations."


The DENR secretary took note that the DENR did not vote for the Captain's Peak Garden and Resort's construction.

"Sa aming research, nagbigay ang [Sagbayan] mayor ng building permit sa 2020 para mag-umpisa. September 21, 2022 nagbigay na naman ng isang mayor's permit sa building permit," the Loyzaga said, adding that the resort had also secured clearances from the barangay the and fire protection bureau.

She affirmed the DENR's recent statement that a temporary closure order was issued to the resort on September 6, 2023, as well as a notice of violation due to a lack of environmental compliance certificate.

The Captain's Peak Garden and Resort is temporarily closed "for maintenance and environmental preservation efforts" after it drew flak from netizens on social media.


The Sagbayan Municipal government has already revoked the business authorization granted to Captain's Peak Garden and Resort.

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