DENR closes 17 GenSan, SoCot resorts in the Philippines
According to PHILIPPINES NEWS AGENCY, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has ordered the closure of 17 inland resorts here and nearby Polomolok town in South Cotabato for violation of the forestry law.
Elvira Lumayag, head of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office, said Tuesday resorts in question are within areas classified as timberland or forestland not covered by Forest Land Use Agreement for Tourism (FLAgT).
FLAgT is a contract between the DENR and a tourism project developer authorizing the latter to
The contract is valid for 25 years and may be renewed for the same period upon mutual agreement by the concerned parties.
Lumayag said the resort owners and operators violated Sections 20 and 78 of Presidential Decree 705 or the Forestry Reform Code of the Philippines.
She said Section 20 of the law provides that “no person may utilize, exploit, occupy, possess or conduct any activity within any forest land, or establish and operate any wood-processing plant, unless he has been authorized to do so under a license agreement, lease, license, or permit.”
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Section 78 sets the “payment, collection and remittance of forest charges” in connection with the development of the resorts, she said.
PHILIPPINES NEWS AGENCY mentions, Lumayag said Secretary Roy Cimatu earlier ordered all DENR field offices to conduct inventories of all resorts within forestlands and initiate appropriate actions on possible violations.
She said several resort owners have submitted appeals with their office, seeking authority to continue with their operations while in the process of complying with the requirements under the FLAgTs.
Among those issued with closure orders are the popular tourist spots Barikot Peak, Sanchez Peak, Mayango Peak, Queen Sheba Hidden Garden, Ulo Tulan, Buko-Buko Peak, Ante Agro Farm, Bato Peak, and Armros Native Farm.