An official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) admitted on Friday that there were lapses in monitoring the reclamation project in Coron, Palawan.
At the Laging Handa briefing, DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones said officials of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) and the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) should have been more diligent in monitoring the progress in the project area.
The DENR earlier revoked the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) of the 48-hectare reclamation project in Coron due to a lack of permits.
“We also saw that there were lapses on the part of the CENRO or PENRO in monitoring the progress of their project there. For us, once we issue the ECC, the proponent should comply with it,” Leones said.
“Although it is hard to admit, we failed to fully monitor the project. What seems to have happened, during the pandemic, that’s when they rushed work on the project, while we were busy addressing COVID-19. That’s when they rushed things, while we couldn’t keep an eye on the project. When next we checked, they had reclaimed a large area in Coron,” he added.
Leones said the DENR issued the ECC for the project in 2007 and 2009.
“Based on our investigation, when they started the reclamation, it seemed okay, things were going slowly… But when the investigation team went there, we were all surprised because the reclamation work had rushed ahead,” he said.
“Ang total reclamation kasi doon dapat 40 hectares. Nagulat kami. During the pandemic tingin namin sinamantala nila na magreclaim nang magreclaim. Forty hectares na base sa report ang kanilang nareclaim,” he added.