BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
All the 36 business establishments in Brgy. Patag and Sitio Lantawan in Brgy. Guimbalaon, Silay City that are located within the Northern Negros Natural Park (NNNP) and were operating without business permits, among others, are now officially closed.
This was after the Joint Inspection Team of the Silay City government yesterday completed the serving of cease-and-desist orders to the owners of 36 business establishments after issuing them notices of violations last month, City Administrator Jose Eduard Davila yesterday said.
The notices of violations had been served to the business establishments for failure to secure business, occupancy and water discharge permits from the city government of Silay, depriving the government of taxes amounting to millions of pesos as some of them had been operating since 2004, Mayor Mark Golez said.
Business establishments such as resorts, restaurants, lodging houses and cafes within the Silay NNNP areas have mushroomed in the past several years, also because of concreted roads and other government infrastructure projects.
Davila said they also discovered that the construction of some rest houses with swimming pools have no building permits and without approval from the National Water Regulatory Board while others are located in hazard zone areas.
While the protection and regulation of structures inside NNNP lies with the Protected Area Management Board, Golez said he has to act on the illegal structures as he may be held liable for dereliction of duty, being the local chief executive, for doing nothing.
Owners of the closed business establishments and illegal structures have already been advised by Golez to write him letters signifying their intention to do business within the protected area of Silay City, which he will endorse to PAMB for appropriate actions.
If they get approval from PAMB, Golez said the Silay City government will act on their requests for business permits, among others.
The burden now lies with PAMB, if they will grant their requests or not, he said.
Entry to the Patag-Lantawan tourist destination areas have been temporarily closed for tourists, except for residents, because of COVID-19 threats.
There is now a proposed ordinance up for deliberation by the Silay City Council for the creation of a Patag-Guimbalaon Management and Development Authority that aims to formulate policies that will regulate activities within its protected area.*