The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is set to dismantle the restaurant built by a Korean businessman on the lake bed of Taal Lake next week, it was announced today by DENR-CALABARZON Executive Director Reynulfo Juan.
Juan, who also sits as chairman of the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) of the Taal Volcano Protected Landscape (TVPL), said the move to dismantle the restaurant came after the company Taal Volcano Jung Ang Leisure Resort, Inc. (TVJALRI) failed to submit appropriate permits for the construction and operation of the restaurant during a technical conference called by the DENR last June 27.
As a result, said Juan, TVPL Protected Area Superintendent (PASu) Laudemir Salac issued a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) against TVJALRI, which he (Salac) personally served on Thursday (June 28), together with representatives from Talisay local government and Environmental Management Bureau (EMB)-Region 4A.
“Along with the CDO, the company was also given a week to vacate the restaurant before the scheduled dismantling next week,” Juan said, adding that the regional office is now coordinating with the provincial government of Batangas, the local government of Talisay and other concerned entities to assist in the dismantling operation.
In his report to DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje, Juan said earlier, on May 16, 2012, the Korean company was already issued a Notice of Violation by PASu Salac for the construction of the restaurant, an extended facility of the Buco Resort of Taal Volcano, without the necessary permits in violation of Republic Act 7586 or the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act.
However, on May 24, 2012, a certain Ms. Kim Young Ok of TVJALRI wrote a letter to Salac “requesting for a reasonable period to verify the status of their operation” relative to the violations cited in the NOV.
“But during the technical conference on June 27, the officials of TVJALRI failed to show any appropriate permits for the restaurant,” Juan said.
Juan stressed that the decision to dismantle the restaurant was a result of a series of investigative actions that had been conducted by the DENR since May of this year, wherein the TVJALRI had been accorded due process. This included, according to him, the issuance of the NOV and the conduct of a meeting that allowed the owners “to bring with them all their permits and clearances to verify their veracity and to determine the legality of their structures.” The owners, however, were not able to present any such documents.
Juan explained that the dismantling of the restaurant and all other illegal structures in the lake is also in keeping with the lake’s management plan crafted by local government units and other stakeholders to preserve not only the ecosystem therein but also its important biodiversity, notably the tawilis and maliputo which are endemic to the lake.
He also said that the dismantling of illegal structures in Taal Lake has been a continuing activity of the DENR since June 12, 2008, in coordination with the Task Force Taal Lake created by the provincial government of Batangas.
As of May 4, 2012, Juan said a total of 7,375 fish cages and other floating structures within the lake had been dismantled.
The Taal Volcano Protected Landscape was proclaimed a protected area in 1996 under Presidential Proclamation No. 923.