DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/12 January) – Members of the Samal City Resort Operators Association (SCROA) have asked the Court of Appeals (CA) to reconsider their petition to junk an ordinance by the City Council of Samal that declared jetties on their resorts illegal.
Speaking to reporters at Monday’s Kapehan sa SM, former SCROA vice-president Araceli Ayuste said they filed their appeal after the Panabo Regional Trial Court in December ruled in favor of the city council.
Ayuste said the organization, comprising 32 member-resorts from around the Island Garden City of Samal asked for a dialog with the local government unit and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources before they would comply with the law.
She said the ordinance allowed the local government to not issue business permits for resorts that constructed jetties for the convenience of their guests.
Ayuste claimed the local government did not follow due process in crafting the ordinance.
“If we do have to pay, we are requesting the government to ask for taxes for the structures instead of penalizing us every year for the structures,” she said. “Why were we issued business permits in the past if this was illegal in the first place?”
She said the group lamented that the law was deemed retroactive.
She said 17 SCROA members petitioned against City Ordinance 150 series of 2009 or the Revised Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance of the Island Garden City of Samal.
She said the RTC in Panabo ruled against their petition in December 2014.
Ayuste now serves as an adviser to the group as well as president of the Davao del Norte Provincial Tourism Council.
In April 2014, other resort owners and operators from the island also cried foul about the ordinance.
Pastor Lozada Jr., of the Samal Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the penalties for building jetties reached P300,000 per year.
The ordinance prohibits, among others, the building of wharves, jetties, breakwaters, and causeways other than those wharves identified by the local government.
Also exempted are special investment projects identified by the city and applied for by the developer.
The ordinance was based on Presidential Decree 1067 or the Water Code of the Philippines.
Article 51 of PD 1067 provides that shorelines designated as agri-tourism and coastal tourism zones should be given easements of at least 10 meters. (MindaNews)