Siargao hostel ordered closed for violating environment laws

GENERAL LUNA, SIARGAO  (MindaNews / 07 January) —  The mayor of  the country’s surfing capital has ordered the temporary closure of Mad Monkey Siargao, operated by Asia’s largest hostel chain, Mad Monkey, for alleged deliberate and gross violation of environmental laws.

General Luna Mayor Cecilia Rusillon issued a municipal order dated January 3, 2020 ordering Mad Monkey Siargao to temporarily cease operations following a report from a concerned citizen on December 26, 2019 regarding its unsegregated waste disposal.

“Aside from unsegregated waste materials dumped at their backyard, the hostel has liquid discharge whose run off ends up at sea,” Rusillon told MindaNews in an interview at her office on Tuesday afternoon.

The mayor said the hostel can resume operations when it has addressed these issues.

Notice posted outside Mad Monkey Siargao hostel in General Luna, Siargao, Surigao del Norte. MindaNews photo by ROEL N. CATOTO

MindaNews sought Mad Monkey country operations manager Andre Mendoza for comment but he declined. He promised to release a statement soon.

As country manager, Mendoza oversees operations of Mad Monkey in Siargao, Boracay, Palawan and Cebu. Mad Monkey, a favorite among backpackers, is considered the world’s 7th largest in the hostel industry.

Following the citizen’s report, several government agencies made an ocular inspection and made recommendations to the municipal government.

According to their findings, Mad Monkey Siargao deliberately and grossly violated pertinent environmental laws such as Republic Act 9003 known as Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, the Expanded National Integrated Protected Area System,  RA 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 and the municipal ordinances on ecological solid waste management.

Mad Monkey Siargao, which opened in April last year is operating in Barangay Catangnan, a world renowned village for hosting international surfing competitions.

Appeal to guests of Mad Monkey Siargao. The hostel management has addressed the residents’ complaint about ‘noise pollution’ but the tarpaulin bearing this message has remained. The town mayor has ordered the temporary closure of the hostel for violating environmental laws. MindaNews photo taken on January 5, 2020 by ROEL N. CATOTO

“The local government unit has to act on this through the immediate implementation of the order to protect and prevent further damage to the environment  and to protect the public health and safety given the very alarming situation of their illegal handling of wastes,” Rusillon told MindaNews.

On Sunday, workers of the establishment were seen cleaning the surroundings.

Rusillon warned other business establishments that are not practicing proper waste segregation and proper backyard composting. “If you resist in following the rules, better yet transfer your business to other places. We don’t want business-minded people with no pure intention to give back to the environment,” she stressed.

She also urged townsfolk to report any establishment operating with improper waste segregation.

Last year, Mad Monkey Siargao was thrust in the limelight as residents staunchly opposed its operations due to noise pollution from its down-the-line party-house business operations.

Appeal to guests of Mad Monkey Siargao. The hostel management has addressed the residents’ complaint about ‘noise pollution’ but the tarpaulin bearing this message has remained. The town mayor has ordered the temporary closure of the hostel for violating environmental laws. MindaNews photo taken on January 5, 2020 by ROEL N. CATOTO

Residents, banding as “The Power of Catangnan,”  put up tarpaulins addressed to Mad Monkey Siargao guests to “keep quiet” and “respect the local community.”

“They disrespected the local community living around the area,” said seasoned surfer Nildie Blacanda, a veteran surfer who is the president of the Siargao Island Surfers Association-Catangnan chapter. Nildie is a former champion of the Siargao Women’s International Surfing Cup and older sister of Nilbie, a gold medalist for surfing in the recent Southeast Asian Games. The Blancadas hail from Catangnan.

Mad Monkey Siargao’s management addressed the noise issue but the tarpaulins bearing those messages have remained to serve as reminders. (Roel N. Catoto / MindaNews)

 

 

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