Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) Acting Executive Director Niño Rey C. Estoya, together with PCSDS ECAN Monitoring and Evaluation Division (EMED) and District Management Division (DMD)-North, attended a special meeting of the MIMAROPA Regional Tourism Committee via Zoom, on January 30.
A Department of Health (DOH)-MIMAROPA report in 2022 showed 567 tourists in the municipality contracting diarrhea. The same report also bared confirmed cases of Escherichia coli (E-coli) amongst business establishments, water refilling stations, and water distribution systems. Moreover, it also detailed an increased concentration of Coliform bacteria in Bacuit-El Nido Bays, Corong-corong and other island-destinations.
Escherichia coli (E-coli) and Coliform bacteria are dangerous because they may cause diarrhea; severe stomach cramps; bloody diarrhea; and vomiting, in the victims, among others.
The PCSDS Acting Executive Director Estoya expressed his support in the Local Government Unit (LGU) of El Nido’s resolve to address the aforementioned public health threats and environmental challenges.
But if the fecal uniform cases in Bacuit-El Nido Bay and the municipality’s ground-waters do not ease and dip, PCSDS may 1.) suspend the SEP Clearance of tourism establishments recording high concentration of Coliform bacteria, and those which fail to meet the government’s water quality standards; 2.) suspend the issuance of SEP Clearance for the up-and-coming tourism establishments in El Nido, pending the resolution of the aforementioned environmental concerns.
This, Mr. Estorya, warned.
In a bid to resolve the health and environmental challenges hounding El Nido with recommendations from the concerned agencies, the DOT-MIMAROPA will conduct a face-to-face meeting of the Regional Tourism Committee in Puerto Princesa City to be held on February 8, where Palawan Governor Dennis V. Socrates and El Nido Municipal Mayor Edna G. Lim will be also invited.
This is also in preparation for the Palawan visit of the DOT Secretary Ms. Maria Esperanza Christina Garcia- Frasco on February 13.