Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu arrived in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte on Monday, calling on all concerned stakeholders to protect the crystal clear waters of the town’s beaches before the swimming site becomes like Boracay.

The famous island in Malay, Aklan is currently partially shut down to undergo rehabilitation by the DENR for a period of six months starting this March.

In a meeting presided by Cimatu at the Saud Municipal Beach today, he told local government officials to strictly enforce environmental laws particularly the Philippine Clean Water Act and the Solid Waste Management Act.

Cimatu said he did not want Pagudpud to suffer a situation similar to that in Boracay. He likewise forewarned town officials led by Mayor Marlon Sales that the Pagudpud local government unit would be liable if the environment would be neglected under their watch.

From Metro Manila, the DENR secretary arrived at the Laoag International Airport via chopper at 10 a.m. then he proceeded immediately to Pagudpud to conduct ocular inspection at the beach resorts in Saud and Balaoi.

While in Pagudpud, the DENR ordered the strict implementation of the “25+5” easement between buildings and the shore.

This mandatory salvage or easement zone area – 25 meters plus 5 meters – is measured from the high tide mark.

Should there be any structure established past the easement area, Cimatu said it must be demolished.

He likewise enjoined officials to prepare for a possible influx of tourists to Pagudpud with the closure of Boracay island.

Since February 22, a task force composed of 120 employees from the DENR’s regional offices and the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) has been deployed to Boracay to neutralize violations and violators of environmental laws and local ordinances in the island. (PNA)