‘Misleading post?’ Anda claps back

ANDA – The municipal government did not allow what it considered “irresponsible” statements over the controversial collection of the P30 environmental fee to pass by turning the tables on those responsible for it.

In an “official statement” on its Facebook post, the municipal government hit back at “the recent misleading posts of some media institutions and personalities”. The post, however, did not give the names and media organizations allegedly responsible for them.

The post in question was the inclusion of non-residents in the collection of the P30 fee.

The said post triggered confusion, the post claiming it caused “undue harm to the local government’s autonomy as to the implementation of its local policies and ordinances”.

“We strongly condemn this irresponsible statement which is contrary to the real situation of its implementation,” the post said.

It lamented that the inclusion of non-residents in the collection has put the town in a bad light.

The post clarified that the environmental fee will be assessed on those who will use and enjoy the natural spots within the territorial jurisdiction of the town. This include those who will swim in the sea within its territorial jurisdiction, cave pools and tour the town’s tourist spots.

It added that the implementation of municipal ordinance no. 21-2020 authorizing the collection followed legal requirements and through legislative procedures in the legislative mills.

“We are seriously considering the option of seeking legal action against those who intentionally cause confusion and disseminate misinformation to the general public,” the statement warned without naming names.

Resort owners in the town increasingly popular for its white sandy beaches are opposing the collection of the environmental fee, describing it as similar to “highway robbery” and claiming it is softly killing the industry.

A letter signed by operators and owners requested Mayor Angelina Simacio to “hold in abeyance” the implementation of the collection of fees.

The fee is being collected along the provincial road at the boundary between the towns of Anda and Guindulman where private and passenger vehicles are flagged down.

Gov. Aris Aumentado has reportedly requested that the collection not be done at the highway which is a provincial road.

The resort owners alleged that the fee collection contained in municipal ordinance no. 21-2020 is deficient in the proper public information and consultation.

In her letter to the resort owners dated March 30, Simacio disputed the claim that the ordinance in question is not valid.

The mayor said she learned that the ordinance has already been submitted to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) for review and approval as a matter of procedure that all municipal ordinances must pass through the provincial board.

The SP during the previous administration, however, did not act on it but instead referred it to the Provincial Legal Office which has not acted on it.

She claimed that based on the Local Government Code, any municipal ordinance submitted to the SP for review unacted for 30 is automatically approved hence ready for implementation. (RVO)

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