Debate on Chocolate Hills resort still rages

Debate on Chocolate Hills resort still rages

A month after discovery, call for accountability mounts

Apr 3, 2024, 3:05 AM
Darlene Pomperada

Darlene Pomperada


The controversy surrounding Captain’s Peak Resort, constructed within the protected area of the Chocolate Hills in Bohol, has continued to ignite multiple debates regarding accountability in preserving the nation’s protected areas.

This debate has extended to government agencies and private tourism site owners across Bohol and the entire Visayas region.

These iconic hills, located in various towns of Bohol, including Carmen, Batuan, Sagbayan, Bilar, Valencia, and Sierra Bullones, are designated for protection under the jurisdiction of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), in coordination with national agencies and local government units.

In the case of Captain’s Peak Resort in Sagbayan town, structures were erected at the base of three chocolate hills, prompting uproar among netizens, concerned citizens, and lawmakers.

Discussions revolved around the resort owners' violations, particularly the issuance of a business permit without fulfilling requirements like the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC).

Julieta Sablas, the administrator of Captain’s Peak Resort, admitted they obtained a business permit from the Office of the Mayor of Sagbayan even without an ECC, violating Presidential Decree No. 1586, which mandates securing an ECC for environmentally critical projects or areas.

The resolution issued by the DENR and its attached agency, the Protected Areas Management Board (PAMB), permits ecotourism development within the natural/cultural heritage of the Chocolate Hills Natural Monument (CHNM).

However, critics argue that certain provisions, such as allowing a maximum of three structures within a specified portion of the hill, contradict existing laws, including Proclamation 1037.

Moreover, recent developments include Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Loyzaga's directive to DENR regional offices to halt the issuance of ECCs within protected areas.

This suspension affects all pending and future ECC applications at the regional level, reflecting heightened scrutiny over environmental compliance within protected zones.

#WeTakeAStand #OpinYon #ChocolateHillsResort #DENR #PAMB #ECC

We take a stand
OpinYon News logo

Designed and developed by Simmer Studios.

© 2024 OpinYon News. All rights reserved.