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DENR's PAMB allowed the construction of viral resort in Chocolate Hills - Bohol provincial gov't officials
DENR's PAMB allowed the construction of viral resort in Chocolate Hills - Bohol provincial gov't officials
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DENR's PAMB allowed the construction of viral resort in Chocolate Hills - Bohol provincial gov't officials
by Ellicia Del Mundo14 March 2024

The Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) permitted the construction of the now-viral resort at the foot of the Chocolate Hills in Sagbayan, Bohol, according to Bohol provincial government officials on Thursday, March 14.

Interviewed on DZRH's Damdaming Bayan, Atty. Jaime Villamor, board member of the Bohol provincial government, said their investigation last year showed that the DENR had issued two resolutions "approving and endorsing the construction and development" of Captain's Peak Garden and Resort.

"Confirmed naman ng Protected Area Management Board ng DENR na meron silang pahintulot to construct and operate. Based on the investigation namin, also the documents we have gathered, meron silang endorsement and approval for the construction and operation," she said.

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Villamor clarified that the Bohol provincial government has not granted any permission for the resort's construction and operation as it is not involved in the process, adding that the Sagbayan Municipal government has jurisdiction over the matter.

As per the Bohol provincial government official, they called for the investigation immediately after learning about the resort built in Chocolate Hills which is a protected area and declared as a natural geological monument by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

"To be frank about it, we just knew the actions taken by the DENR based on the social media posting. After our investigation last Sept. 2023, despite conveying to them in writing all our recommendations and requests, we haven't received any official reply from the DENR. Yun lang statement nila kahapon on socail media ang information na nakuha namin from the DENR. Regarding sa pagpapasara we are not really privy sa activities ngayon ng DENR," she contended.

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The DENR in a statement said it had already issued a temporary closure order to the resort on September 6, 2023, as well as a notice of violation on January 22, 2024, due to a lack of environmental compliance certificate.

Meanwhile, Atty. Handel Lagunay from the Bohol provincial government's legal office also affirmed that it was the DENR's PAMB that allowed the construction "under certain limitations."

"Ang Sagbayan, hindi naman 'yan mag-issue kung walang pahintulot ng PAMB. Ang PAMB, sila ang may control sa kung ano ang mga development na dapat gawin sa Chocolate Hills," he told DZRH in an interview.

As per Lagunay, the DENR did not stop the construction back in 2018.

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The Captain's Peak Garden and Resort is temporarily closed "for maintenance and environmental preservation efforts" based on the management's advisory.

It apologized to the public "for any inconvenience" and asked for "understanding and support" while they are working for "a greener, more sustainable future for Captain's Peak Garden and Resort."

"Thank you for your cooperation, and we look forward to welcoming you back soon," the management ended.

Senator Nancy Binay, the chair of the Senate Committees on Tourism, has filed a resolution urging proper senate committees to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the issue.

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