MAY 15, 2019 — Dismissed Malay, Aklan Mayor Ciceron Cawaling regained his post after garnering the most votes in the mayoralty race, defeating his rival with nearly 4,000 votes.
Cawaling was found guilty last month of neglecting environmental concerns in Boracay and for issuing business permits without the required documents.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), however, said his return to office will not be a problem, as long as Cawiling implements the environmental laws this time.
“We’re giving him the benefit of the doubt na magiging mas cooperative siya dahil nagkaroon siya ng kaso dati. Siguro naman alam niya ‘yung objective ng inter-agency task force natin to clean the whole island,” DENR spokesperson Benny Antiporda said.
Cawaling is eyeing to increase environmental fees and demolish lifeguard towers on the beachfront as his top agenda. He said the tower locations violate the 25-meter easement rule.
“Yung ngang nilagay ko na tourist and information center na worth P5 million na nakatayo na nung kasagsagan ng rehabilitation may violation raw kaya pinagiba ko. Ngayon naglagay sila ng lifeguard tower sa beach mismo,” he said.
Instead of being life aid measures, Cawaling said the towers will only encourage tourists to loiter and litter.
“Hindi puro lifeguard ‘yung andiyan sa beach. Inalis na nga natin ang mga lamesa at upuan para luminis ang beach tapos lalagayan ng lifeguard towers. Iihian lang ng mga lasing yan,” Cawaling added.
He said, however, that he is willing to study such proposals with the government agencies.
Cawaling also explained to environment officials that his absences in previous meetings with the DENR were due to a misunderstanding.
He thought deploying a focal person to the meetings was already sufficient.
“Kung sasabihin nating focal person, nandun lahat ng kooperasyon ko. Na-misinterpret lang siguro nila ang kalagayan ko dahil hindi na ako nag-attend ng meeting kasi papano ka naman mag-attend, dun sa kalaban ko sa pulitika ang venue nila,” Cawaling said.