DINGALAN, Aurora -- All 38 beach resorts in this coastal town, the only municipality in southern Aurora, are operating with the required Environmental Compliance Certificates (ECCs), with the municipal mayor saying the document has gone out of fashion here.
Dingalan Mayor Sheirwin Taay said local resort owners could not secure an ECC because the beachfront is part of the “salvage zone” which prohibits the setting up of structures 30 meters from the shoreline. “The DENR prohibits resorts and other structures from being erected in the salvage zone so you can’t expect the ECC issued in favor of the resort owners,” he said.
Article 51 of the Water Code of the Philippines states that “the banks of rivers and streams and the shores of the seas and lakes throughout their entire length and within a zone of three meters in urban area, 20 meters in agricultural areas and 40 meters in forest areas, along their margins, are subject to the easement of public use in the interest of recreation, navigation, flotage, fishing and salvage.
No person shall be allowed to stay in this zone longer than what is necessary for recreation, navigation, flotage, fishing or salvage or to build structures of any kind, the code stipulates.
Based on DENR records, more than 90 percent -- or nine out of 10 resorts -- in this province are operating without the required ECCs, according to an official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.