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Sunday, June 12, 2011

‘Pacman Resort’ closed down


AKLAN, Philippines - The local government of Malay ordered the closure of West Cove Hotel in Sitio Diniwid, Barangay Yapak, Boracay Island for violating the National Building Code of the Philippines.

West Cove Hotel, also informally referred to as “Pacman Resort” is owned by Crisostomo Aquino, People’s Champ Manny Pacquiao’s close friend.

The local government of Malay questioned West Cove Hotel’s “off-shore” development and the erection of concrete structures on the coves and rocks, which supposedly imperil the fragile ecosystem in the resort island.

West Cove Hotel, operated by West Cove Management Philippines Incorporated (WCMPI), allegedly violated Section 301 of the National Building Code of the Philippines, which states that “no person, firm or corporation, including any agency or instrumentality of the government shall erect, construct, alter, repair, move, convert or demolish any building or structure or cause the same to be done without first obtaining a building permit.”

No local permits too

The closure order was also based on Executive Order No. 010 series of 2011 signed by Malay Mayor John Yap who also ordered the immediate demolition of the illegal structures.

There have already been notices sent to the management of West Cove Hotel na pinapasara sila because of certain violations,” said Rugen Aguirre, chairman of the Committee on Laws and Ordinances.

West Cove Hotel allegedly began operations in 2009 without a building permit and license to operate.

Wala silang building permit, wala silang occupancy permit and they have continuously operated for the past two years,” Aguirre said.

For its part, WCMPI said it had continuously tried to comply with the requirements of the National Building Code, but the local government of Malay allegedly rejected their application.

Criminal charges

The Philippine National Police and the Boracay Special Tourist Police have been tasked to implement the immediate closure of West Cove Hotel, direct all persons to vacate the property and bar persons from entering the area.

The municipal engineer was also ordered to remove and destroy all illegal structures.

Building officials will also file charges against WCMPI for violating Presidential Decree 1096 or Adopting a National Building Code in the Philippines.

Government’s blessings?

West Cove Hotel management insists its operation is legal and that it had the blessings of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Then under the leadership of DENR Secretary Lito Atienza, WCMPI claims it had been granted a 25-year Forest Land Agreement for Tourism Purposes or FLAgT by the DENR.

But according to Boracay Foundation Incorporated President Loubelle Cann, the illegal structures have grave effects on the environment. The government has to do what it can to stop these practices even if it will affect business, Cann said.

Kami sa business community, we are very happy and we support the action na ginawa,” said Cann.

Malaking bagay yun sa amin kasi naman dapat pareho tayong may negosyo, dapat naman patas lang.” Cann added. - with reports from Nony Basco, ABS CBN Iloilo


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