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HomeHot TopicsCaptain's Peak Resort in the Chocolate Hills Area is Temporarily Closed

Captain’s Peak Resort in the Chocolate Hills Area is Temporarily Closed

Resort manager Julieta Sablas from Sagbayan, Bohol, Philippines, has confirmed that the Captain’s Peak Resort, which is located in the well-known Chocolate Hills region, has halted operations.

The resort suspended operations “upon the directive of the mayor,” according to Sablas, the sister of Capt. Edgar Button, the resort’s owner. The lack of an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) was given as the explanation.

Although the resort has met 75% of the requirements, Sablas acknowledged the difficulties in acquiring an ECC and acknowledged the complexities of full compliance. She emphasized that she was determined to find a solution and that she had the Protected Area Management Board’s (PAMB) license to operate in the Chocolate Hills region.

Sablas pointed out that prior to the resort’s 2019 opening, operating permits had also been issued by local Sagbayan officials in addition to PAMB’s approval. She cited the local PAMB’s Resolution 01 series of 2018, which emphasized the stringent prohibitions against extraction activities and the prohibition against altering or defacing the hills.

“We may lack an ECC, but we possess permits from the local government unit, Protected Area Management Bureau, and 15 out of 26 barangay captains of Sagbayan,” Sablas said.

The resort should permanently close, according to Bohol representative Kristine Alexie Tutor, who emphasized the need to uphold the law in order to maintain Chocolate Hills’ designation as a UNESCO Geopark. After due process was followed, she supported the correct deconstruction and restoration of the construction site, with the resort’s owners covering the associated costs.

Bishop Alberto Uy of Tagbilaran urged the people of Bohol to treasure and protect the province’s special gifts, praising the increasing environmental consciousness among people and advocating for responsible management.

Under threat of legal punishment if carelessness or irregularities are discovered, Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos launched an investigation into the role played by Sagbayan town officials in approving the resort’s construction within the protected Chocolate Hills area.

The 1997 designation of the Chocolate Hills as a National Geological Monument and Protected Landscape is an important cultural landmark that calls for stringent environmental protection regulations. Calls for a comprehensive probe into all resorts in the area were reiterated by Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda and Secretary-General Ivan Anthony Henares of the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines.

Jamie Villamor, a board member for the Bohol 2nd district, clarified that the PAMB had approved the resort’s construction and revealed that it had received proposals for other projects of a same nature in Chocolate Hills. She emphasized the necessity for appropriate oversight and urged the PAMB to give these issues significant thought.

Felito Pon, the executive secretary of the Sagbayan Office of the Mayor, defended the original permit issuance despite the resort’s business permit being revoked, citing PAMB’s resolution and pointing out that local government units routinely renew business permits every year. Pon stated that the DENR’s closure order, which was shared on social media, was followed by the permit withdrawal.



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