MISS TACLOBAN CANDIDATES. The candidates for this year’s Miss Tacloban wowed the crowd for their stunning gowns created by their chosen designers during the ‘designer’s competition’ of the beauty and brains pageant, one of the highlights of the annual city fiesta in honor of Senior Santo Niño. The event was held on June 15 at the Robinsons shopping mall. (TACLOBAN CITY INFORMATION OFFICE)

Due to presence of fecal bacteria

TACLOBAN CITY- About five public beach resorts were ordered shut down by the city government here on Monday (June 19) after they were discovered to have a ‘high concentration’ of fecal coliform bacteria.

These establishments were Mernan’s Beach Resort, Sanday’s Beach Resort, Talisay Beach Resort, Payapay Beach Resort, and Marcos Beach Resort.

The closure of these establishments, as ordered by City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, was based on the findings of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the water sampling it conducted from January 24 and March 21 of this year along the San Jose waters where these beach resorts are all located.

The EMB noted that these beaches have fecal coliform bacteria levels of 9,000 most probable number (mpn)/100 ml, higher than the acceptable standard of 100 mpn/100 ml.
Robert Eviota, licensing inspector of the Business Permit and Licensing Division (BPLD), said that they received the EMB findings just last week.

“(And) immediately, Mayor Romualdez directed our office to implement a closure order against these beach resorts,” he said Tuesday.

“We have to do this in order to protect the public who patronizes these beach resorts. We cannot compromise the health of our people considering the high concentration of both human and animal fecal found in the waters of these beaches,” Eviota added.

And on top of finding contaminated waters, these beach resorts were also discovered to be operating without business permits for a year now, he added.

“Based on our records, none of these five beach resorts were issued business permits to operate at least for this year,” Eviota said.

The official said that they will only be allowed to operate again after they have cleaned up the waters of fecal bacteria and secured the needed business permit.

One of the owners of the beach resorts ordered close said that they were surprised by this move by the city government.

The owner, who asked not to be named, also said they have complied with all the health and sanitary requirements.

“We believe that we did not violate any sanitary or environmental laws for them to close our beach resort. For one, we have submitted some photos showing where our septic tank is located which is far from the sea,” he said in a text message.

The owner also said that while it was true that they have not secured a business permit this year to operate, they secured the same prior to the onset of the pandemic.

“For one thing, why we will secure a business permit when we are not in operation because of the COVID-19 pandemic? We have no income on that period,” he said.

Still, the owner said that they are willing to comply with any order the city government will ask them to do for them to open again for business.

“We are just ordinary and small businessmen. We get our daily needs from the operation of our resort,” he said.

Meantime, Dr.Danilo Ecarma, city health officer, said that their office has yet to determine if these beach resorts were the primary cause of the spread of the bacteria on the sea.
Ecarma said the contamination might also come from the drainage from the sewerage system of the city that ended up in the waters of San Jose.

“There are only a few houses there but the concentration of the coliform is quite high,” he said in a text message.

Still, he advised the public not to swim on the beaches.

“It’s not safe. You cannot avoid to ingest dirty water during swimming,” Ecarma added.