President Rodrigo Duterte need not to issue an executive order for the rehabilitation of Panglao Island in Bohol and El Nido in Palawan, the Palace said on Wednesday.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the Duterte’s Cabinet members had agreed that an EO was no longer necessary for the government to rehabilitate the tourist destinations.
“On the rehabilitation of Panglao Island in Bohol and El Nido in Palawan, the Cabinet agreed that there is no need to issue an Executive Order,” Panelo said in a statement Wednesday.
The Cabinet members reached the said agreement a week after Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the government has ordered a swimming ban in two beaches in both Panglao and El Nido.
The Tourism chief added the Alona Beach in Panglao and Buena Suerte Beach in El Nido would not be allowed to swim for tourists and locals due to a high level of coliform, stressing the ban on the two beaches would be in effect “until the coliform levels are acceptable.”
Coliform is a type of bacteria that comes from human or animal feces.
It can cause diarrhea and other water-borne diseases that can be fatal to children.
She explained the coliform levels in the two beaches had reached beyond the acceptable coliform count of 100 most probable number.
Puyat clarified the imposed ban was part of the government’s efforts to rehabilitate the beaches of El Nido and Panglao.
According to the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force, composed of Puyat, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, El Nido faces environmental problems similar to Boracay such as the easement of shoreline, waste disposal management, and overcrowding.
Panglao, on the other hand, also suffers from environmental problems due to unregulated development, lax enforcement of laws, and large influx of tourist arrivals.
The inter-agency task force, however, said it did not plan to totally shutdown Panglao and El Nido contrary to what happened to Boracay, which was closed to the public for six months.