This, as Governor Gwendolyn Garcia and some owners of the structures that were built near the falls have finally agreed on the action plan for its rehabilitation and improvement.
In a meeting with the stakeholders last October 9 at the Capitol, the owners of the six permanent structures built within the 20-meter easement zone of the falls agreed to voluntarily tear down their illegal edifices.
The owners understand the reason behind Garcia’s order to demolish the structures.
In lieu of permanent structures like cottages, which will only be allowed beyond the easement zone, Garcia approved the counter-proposal of the affected owners to provide new picnic huts or sheds near the falls. The owners will pay the province for the structures within a six-month period.
The provincial government also agreed to work and maintain the landscaping, and plant trees and native ornamentals. Solid waste management will also be implemented near the site.
A memorandum of agreement will be signed on October 24 in Badian to formalize the agreement. The other owners, including the Kawasan Nature’s Park and Multi-purpose Cooperative, and Willy Saldua, who challenged the Capitol before the court, will not be among the signatories and their facilities will remain padlocked.
Kawasan Falls, located in Barangay Matutinao, Badian was closed to tourists after Garcia issued an executive order last April 17. The governor and the concerned national government agencies contended that the presence of structures has destroyed the natural beauty of the falls and has even clogged the waterways.
Badian Mayor Robburt Librando said his constituents are losing their livelihood because of the closure. He added that the problem could have been solved earlier if the owners immediately heeded the executive order. Xerxes Alkuino