EL NIDO will remain open to all tourists even as its rehabilitation is ongoing, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said on Thursday.
“The decision is that we will continue the rehabilitation. We will not close El Nido,” Cimatu said in a joint news briefing with Interior Secretary Eduardo Año and Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
“The consensus of us here [is] that we will continue the rehabilitation because the last time, we did a six-month rehabilitation effort from the town mayor to do for El Nido and then it expired after six months and while we were looking at the result, we somehow received a complaint about the quality of the water,” Cimatu told reporters.
Some swimming areas in Bacuit Bay and Corong Corong Beach, however, would be off-limits for tourists, pending the rehabilitation process.
Closure was also ordered for specific areas found to have a high level of coliform and have easement problems.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources regional director in the area was tasked by Cimatu to form an interagency task force that will conduct investigation and inspection of establishments in El Nido to determine if they are complying with environmental laws and other policies.
This will also include households that are within the vicinity of the tourist spot.
The task force is given 20 days, starting on August 5 until 25, to submit the results of its investigation and inspection.
“These include those who does not have permits, no accreditations from the Department of Tourism (DoT)…or building resorts without the necessary permits from the government,” Cimatu said.
While the whole of El Nido remained open to the public, individual establishments who fail to comply with the conditions will have to be ordered for closure, according to the Environment secretary.