PANGLAO, Bohol – Mayor Leonila P. Montero of this premier tourist town personnaly led law enforcers in forcefully removing the string of buoys that enclosed the Pungtud islet and its sand bars, off here. Kagawad Lando Clenista of barangay Poblacion, where the islet belongs, described Montero’s bold move as manifestation of her political will in clearing the layers of buoys enclosing the said isltet allegedly put up by the owners. Along with the mayor were Vice-Mayor Pedro Fuertes barangay officials, the Philippine Coast Guard, the army, tourist police and Bantay Dagat men in unfastening knots of buoys made of surrounding the islet.
Following the clearing the buoys, Fuertes said in an interview with mediamen said that he fully supported the mayor’s move.
When asked if the islet owners file a court action against those who made the buoys clearing, Montero said that it is their right to do so and she welcomes it.
The mayor cited islet owners and management’s serious violations of the laws, saying that what she did was to enforce the law. The islet should not be enclosed with buoys since there’s no marine protected areas (MPA) nerby the islet, she said.
The string of buoys, she said, deprived the fishermen in landing the islet in the event of moonsoon or “habagat.” The islet used to be their refuge but now they appeared deprived get in in times of need.
Based on the DENR’s revelation, the islet’s development has no Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC). The management of the islet has caused the construction of structures while construction of other buildings are on going without building permit, the mayor said.
The management of the islet started to welcome the islet due to its white powdery white sand deposits with free entrance but it did not bother to secure business permit from the municipal government, the mayor lamented.
She said she’s not against any tourist-related development as long as the management concerned should follow the law. In enforcing the law, the mayor said, they have been following due process, informing the management led by a certain Agu Cloribel of its obligation to secure permits.
Warnings have been served for the islet management to comply building permit requirements but to no avail, said building official Engr. Bonao.
The islet is owned by Ramon E. Rodriguez and Digna Cloribel families after they had the Original Certificate of Title (OCT) land title No. 47376 issued on December 20, 1982 issued during then strongman President Ferdinand Marcos’s regime.
But just recently, questions on why the islet has been issued land title have cropped up.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) during the meeting on Tuesday revealed that the islet has four lots —- numbered 8156, 8155, 8154 and 8153. The lot no. 8153 is issued to Rodriguez family, DENR said.
Officials here said that not the entire islet is owned by the Rodriguez family contrary to what the islet management’s claim. DENR said that the islet is not cosidered as alienable and disposable land. (rvo)