BAGUIO CITY – Two premier tourist destinations and a forest reservation in the city will be the next sites to be allegedly closed by the environment department because of supposed blatant violation of environmental, health and sanitation laws by both businessmen and residents and the proliferation of illegal structures in the said places.
Sources, who requested anonymity for security reasons, revealed Mines View Park and Busol watershed are the two areas in the city being closely monitored by personnel of the central and regional offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) because of the alleged blatant violations of environmental, health and sanitation laws and the continuous increase in informal settlers and the massive deforestation that pose a serious threat to the city’s environment and tourism industry in the future.
“We received initial reports that after the recommended closure of Boracay for six months shall have been approved, environment officials will evaluate the situation of Mines View Park and the Busol watershed on whether or not the said areas in the city will be able to pass the existing criteria that will guide higher authorities to decide either to close the said places or impose stringent regulations that will improve the state of the environment,” the source stressed.
The source stated that the situation in Mines View Park is getting worst amidst the efforts of the concerned government agencies and the local government to improve the situation of the park, which is one of the premier destinations in the city, that is why there is a need for the DENR to take the appropriate steps that will help in bringing back the scenery of the park considering that the area has become a business center instead of a park.
On the other hand, the source pointed out that despite the efforts of the local governments of La Trinidad and Baguio City to abate the influx of informal settlers in the 336-hectare Busol watershed, it has been observed that there has been a tremendous increase in illegal structures around the forest reservation that poses a serious threat to the identity of Busol as a watershed and the source of potable water supply for residents of Baguio and La Trinidad.
Aside from the closure of the said areas, the source claimed that among the possible recommendations on the drastic actions that will be taken to help preserve and protect the said places include the immediate dismantling of structures that were constructed without building permits, requiring business establishments to adhere to environmental, health and sanitation laws and regulations and the regreening of the deforested watershed to ensure the availability of potable water supply for residents in the future.
While the local government was able to initiate actions that removed the vendors within the Mines View Park, the source asserted that stallholders who were assigned slots in the Mines View multipurpose building that served as their relocation site are now contributing to the clogging of the park which impede the smooth flow of people wanting to view the mine site that add up to the worsening traffic congestions on the roads leading to the park.
The source added initial evaluation of Mines View and Busol were done and the findings are now being evaluated by DENR personnel in the central office for future actions by higher authorities after the approved closure of Boracay for a maximum of six months.