MANILA -- The government would rather demolish Boracay structures which violate the 25-plus-5-meter easement from the shoreline than order their closure, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje said.
In an interview with radio dzMM Wednesday morning, Paje said that while they are focused on restoring the beauty of Boracay, they do not want to be considered "anti-business."
Almost 300 establishments, including residential structures, hotels, resorts and government offices, face demolition for building too close to the water line.
The world-famous white sand beaches of Boracay are reportedly disappearing because of the infrastructures built within the 25-meter perimeter from the shoreline.
Paje, citing the case of West Cove Resort which built structures on more than 9,000 square meters even if it was only allowed to construct within a 998-square meter land area as stated under the Forest Land Use Agreement for Tourism Purposes (FLAgT), said the DENR cannot just revoke its license.
He noted that doing so would only force him to also revoke the licenses of all the other violators.
"Remember we have 293 violators. If we allow the same concept na pag nag-violate ka, kanselahin mo na yung buong lisensya mo, yung 293 mapipilitan kaming ganun din kasi nag-violate din sila sa [environmental compliance certificate] nila," he said.
He said he is only instructing stakeholders to demolish parts of their establishments that are built within the 25 plus 5-meter easement. "I-demolish niyo lamang yung lumagpas."
"That is already somehow a penalty. Ang pinagaaralan kasi namin ay yung impact nito," he said.
"Malaki naman ang dinadala [niyan] sa ekonomiya ng Boracay eh," he added.
Meanwhile, Paje also reminded West Cove and all the other establishments to continue with their self-demolition, noting that if the government does the demolition, the expenses will still be shouldered by the owners.