Año creates team to probe officials involved in ‘Boracay crisis’

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The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has created a 12-person special investigating team to probe and file cases against government personnel and private individuals who will be found accountable for the environmental crisis in Boracay Island.

DILG OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. Año says the Boracay Investigating Team (BIT) shall conduct an immediate investigation on the possible liability of erring institutions and government officials and employees who may have a hand in the “Boracay crisis”.

“Sisiguraduhin naming mananagot ang dapat managot.  Lahat ng may direktang kinalaman sa pag-iisyu ng permits sa mga lugar na hindi na dapat tayuan ng istruktura pati na ang mga pribadong tao na iligal na nagpapatakbo ng mga establisimyento at nakikipagkuntsaba sa mga opisyal ay hindi makakaligtas sa imbestigasyong ito,” says Año.

Designated as chairperson of the team is DILG  Assistant Secretary for Plans and Programs Epimaco V. Densing III, with DILG Senior Executive Assistant Jerry A. Loresco of the Office of the Undersecretary for Peace and Order, Public Safety and Policy and Programs as vice chairperson.

According to Año,  he has also instructed the team to look into the utilization of the environmental fees collected by the local government concerned subject to existing laws.

“Their investigation shall cover a period of ten years reckoning from year 2008 up to 2018.  I expect them to submit a comprehensive report on the result of their probe as soon as possible,” he says.

The DILG chief says the creation of the BIT is in the exercise of the Department’s supervisory power over local government units (LGUs) and to ensure that the crisis faced by the Island due to the neglect and violation of environmental and other laws will not happen again.

Earlier, the DILG has recommended to place Boracay under a state of calamity to hasten the mitigation response and rehabilitation efforts of the national government including the private sector.

The President gave the DILG and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) six months to implement “immediate action” and fix all Boracay environmental issues.

The other members of the committee are Bureau of Local Government Supervision (BLGS) Director Atty. Odilon L. Pasaraba; Legal and Legislative Liaison Service (LLLS) Director Atty. Romeo P. Benitez; Trial and Investigation Division officer-in-charge Atty. Maria Elena Quebral; BLGS Policy Compliance and Monitoring Division Chief Atty. Maria Rhodora R. Flores; Frederick Lubuguin of the LLS; Benjamin Zabala of the Internal Affairs Service; Engr. Richard Cruz of the Office of Project Development Services; DILG Regional Director Atty. Anthony Nuyda, Jr.; and representatives from the Bureau of Fire Protection and the Police Regional Office VI.