DENR says Sarangani Bay safe for swimming, resorts under close scrutiny


GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) assured Tuesday that it was regularly monitoring beach resorts and establishments within the Sarangani Bay to ensure that it remained free of pollutants.

Dr. Sabdullah Abubacar, DENR-12 regional executive director, noted that the bay is a declared protected and water quality management area (WQMA) and subject to protection and conservation standards and mechanisms.

Abubacar said Sarangani’s Protected Area Management Board, local government units, line agencies and other stakeholders are jointly monitoring developments and day-to-day undertakings of all establishments in the bay.

“All activities of the establishments are properly monitored and they must comply with the rules and regulations on the environment,” Abubacar said in a statement.

He cited the compliance monitoring on the conditions provided under the Environmental Compliance Certificate, which details how establishments will mitigate pollution in line with their operations.

Through the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), resorts and other firms are also required to undergo the environmental impact assessment prior to their establishment.

Alex Jimenez, EMB-12 director, said it was focusing on whether bay resorts were discharging wastewater in the waters.

He said the EMB would strictly monitor the parameters that should be maintained by the resorts before discharging their wastewater.

Jimenez said the agency has been conducting regular monthly monitoring of the physical and chemical characteristics of the beaches to check if they were safe for swimming.

“All the results of the tests we have conducted in all the beaches along the Sarangani Bay are good and we can assure the public that they are safe for swimming,” he said.

Sarangani Bay was declared a protected area through Republic Act 11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Area System Act of 2018. (Mahatma M. Maulana/PNA)