Illegal resorts in Davao’s Marilog District face relocation

Sunrise in Davao City’s Marilog District. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 08 Oct.) – Resorts that are operating illegally in the landslide-prone areas in Marilog District will have to relocate if no mitigating measures would be recommended to ensure the safety of visitors, an official said.

Davao City administrator lawyer Zuleika Lopez said in an interview on Monday that they have yet to know if the City Planning Development Office (CPDO) and Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) 11 would recommend measures for resorts which violated the city’s 2013 zoning ordinance.

She said the two offices are handling the zoning issues in disaster-prone areas and will come up with a report within the month for a possible review and amendment of the zoning ordinance.

“We are reviewing it together with MGB. We are trying to see if some mitigating measures can be done. If not, if they themselves will recommend that it cannot be done, of course, they will have to comply with the law because it involves public welfare,” she said.

Lopez said there’s “a good number of establishments” operating without business permits while some are even located in identified disaster-prone and conservation areas of Marilog District.

She said they are encouraging business owners to register their establishments with the city government.

In her second State of the City Address on October 2, Mayor Sara Duterte said the city government wants to improve tourism offerings without compromising the legitimacy of business operations.

“This is the main reason why closures were done in Marilog to all businesses that have been operating without the necessary permits and licenses,” she said.

Based on the May 28, 2018 report of the technical working group (TWG) that investigated the alleged illegal operations of tourism resorts, at least seven of them had been shut down temporarily pending compliance with the requirements.

The TWG is composed of the City Tourism Office, City Engineer’s Office, City Treasurer’s Office, Business Bureau, City Environment and Natural Resources Office, City Councilor Al Ryan Alejandre and CPDO.

Under the 2013 Comprehensive Land Use Plan, 2,137 hectares, or 3.35 percent of Marilog’s 63,800.22-hectare land area, had been reclassified from forestland into tourism development zone.

The land use plan positions Marilog as the “new highland destination of the city.”

Two of Marilog’s 12 barangays, Baganihan and Datu Salumay, are being promoted as tourism development zone. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)