The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) has issued an interim Cease and Desist Order (CDO) to Boracay Tubi Systems, Inc. (BTSI) of bilyonaryo Lucio Tan.
“I have made it clear from Day 1 that no one is above the law…we will appropriately deal with the people responsible for this violation,” said Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, chair of the Boracay Inter-agency Task Force created by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte through Executive Order 53 to reverse the degradation of Boracay Island.
BTSI was caught discharging wastewater that tested positive for fecal coliform from its outfall pipe from Lugutan area in Brgy Manoc-Manoc in the island to Sibuyan Sea. Sinkers were placed on the outfall pipe to secure it and prevent it from floating. It was found to be almost 13 kilometers below the water surface.
The interim CDO was issued on Sept. 21, 2019 by EMB Western Visayas Regional Director Atty. Ramar Niel V. Pascua and shall be effective for seven (7) days unless confirmed by the Pollution Adjudication Board in such case it shall become a regular CDO.
In an inspection conducted by personnel of EMB, an outfall pipe was seen to be discharging a large volume of yellowish water.
Laboratory Analysis results revealed that fecal coliform and phosphate from the water sample and residue taken have exceeded the General Effluent Standards maximum allowable limit for Class SC marine water body per DENR Administrative Order No. 2016-08 or the Water Quality Guidelines and Effluent Standards of 2016.
The sample collected had a fecal coliform of 3,500 most probable number per 100 ml (MPN/100ml) against an effluent standard for Class SC water of 400 MPN/100ml. On the other hand, Phosphate was at 2.250 mg P/L against the standard of one (1) mg P/L level.
Earlier, a video of a pawikan or sea turtle sticking its head into the pipe outlet was posted in social media by a Korean diving instructor.
On August 14, 2019, Cimatu gave instructions to cordon off the beachfront area in Station 1 after two female foreign nationals—one allowing child to defecate in Boracay’s waters and the other burying a used diaper in the white sand – also circulated on social media.
Boracay Island was ordered closed by President Duterte in April 2018 after he described its water as a cesspool. The famous island reopened in October 2018 after a six-month rehabilitation.