Oct 9, 2018

Environmental advocates were alarmed last week when heavy construction materials were found by the coastline of San Juan, La Union, which is known as a common sea turtle nesting spot. The construction, located beside resorts Costa Vill and Del Moral, poses as a big threat to the marine biodiversity, they told the local government unit. The Coastal Underwater Resource Management Actions even provided a deeper review of the construction in this video for the government to assess.

This led the Municipality of San Juan and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to issue temporary construction halt ordinances until a legislative session is held.

One of the orders, released Oct. 3, was posted on Facebook by  resident and advocate Tina Antonio. Addressed to Green Portos Corporation, San Juan municipal engineer Prudel Quinsaat ordered the temporary stoppage of the on-going construction and earthmoving activities. This is implemented “until such time that there would be a final determination of the extent of the legal easement,” Quinsaat wrote.

The order Engr. Quinsaat sent to Green Portos Corporation, the company behind the construction on the pawikan beach in San Juan, La Union. Photo courtesy of Tina Antonio

To further address concerns, San Juan City Vice Mayor Miko Magsaysay held a legislative session yesterday with representatives of the DENR, Department of Tourism, and concerned residents. Antonio was among the resource persons invited to speak.

In a Facebook post, Antonio said provincial environmental officers present in the session confirmed that parts of the Green Portos Corporation building construction are on salvage zones and creek easements. “This was based on the October 4, 2018 joint re-assessment [of] municipal, provincial, and DENR engineers,” Antonio said.

The Water Code of the Philippines specified salvage zones as no-build zones. “No person shall be allowed to stay in this zone longer than what is necessary for recreation, navigation, floatage, fishing or salvage or to build structures of any kind,” the law stated.

Antonio also shared to Nolisoli.ph a DENR presentation of coastal resource management planning, which states that coastal shoreline setback is required by law.

A screenshot of the Coastal Resource Management Planning presentation from DENR

This clearly means that parts of the construction by the San Juan coastline violate an environmental law.

The session also deemed the use of natural sand as foundation fillers illegal. From the video provided by CURMA, a heavy excavator is seen displacing the sand to make way for the structures.

As of writing, no final resolution has been issued yet. But the provincial environment and natural resources officers are assessing the coverage of the salvage zone area which could lead to building adjustment.

A follow-up report and decision is said to be released by the municipality on Oct. 11.


Header image courtesy of CURMA video

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TAGS: beach Construction environmental law La Union Municipality north Salvage zone Seawall