DILG eyes three-month closure of portions of El Nido, Palawan for rehab

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Bacuit Bay (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 26)— After Boracay, portions of El Nido in Palawan are up next in the government’s clean-up drive.

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), in a document dated July 15 and released Friday, has recommended a three-month closure for Bacuit Bay and Corong-Corong Outfall due to poor water quality in the areas.

“It was found that Bacuit Bay and Corong-Corong Outfall are in dreadful condition with one outfall's fecal coliform level reaching more than 3.4M MPN (most probable number)/100 ML,” read the document, which was addressed to both the Environment and Tourism departments.

Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing said the department recommended the closure as authorities aim to find out the source of the dirty water. The safe level for swimming is only 100mpn, Densing added.

“This is compounded by the presence of informal settler families, non-enforcement of easement regulations on outfalls, and unregulated dry-docking and mooring activities,” the document further read.

The Interior Department, in particular, wants to ban water activities “to preserve the area and prevent tourists and locals from contracting diseases.”

Bacuit Bay is a popular destination for island-hoppers, as it boasts turquoise waters and rich marine life. Corong-Corong, on the other hand, is known for its lush forests and sunset views.

The move comes after a Tourism official earlier this month said there will be no more closure of tourist-laden island destinations, including El Nido and Coron in Palawan, Panglao in Bohol, and Siargao. Tourism Assistant Secretary Roberto Alabado had said that authorities will instead go after non-compliant resorts and establishments in the said areas.

RELATED: No closure for Coron, El Nido, Panglao, Siargao amid rehab plans – DOT

Boracay reopened in October 2018 after a six-month closure on President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to have the island, which he called a “cesspool,” rehabilitated.

The inter-agency task force later on announced its plans to rehabilitate top Palawan destinations El Nido and Coron. Environment officials earlier shut down shut down several establishments in El Nido after they were found violating environmental laws.

CNN Philippines' Carolyn Bonquin contributed to this report.