Cimatu to close gov’t golf courses

The Philippine Navy Golf Course. (C Ergina image)

DISMAYED by the sorry state of the Philippine Navy Golf Course (PNGC) in Taguig City, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has ordered the inspection of all government and military golf courses all over the country to enforce compliance with relevant environmental and ecological laws.

Cimatu issued the order after visiting the PNGC on Saturday and learning that trees there had been trimmed or cut without the requisite permit and that the water in its canals were dirty and smelly like in most other government golf courses.

Any government-operated golf course that will fail the inspection of the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will face closure, warned Cimatu.

“I will not hesitate to close down a military or government golf course for non-compliance with environmental laws because we in government must lead by example,” said Cimatu during the awarding ceremonies for the PMA Corps of Cavaliers golf tournament.

“How can we expect private sector-managed golf courses to follow rules and regulations safeguarding the environment if those in govenment do not?” Cimatu asked.

At the PNGC event, Cimatu spoke about the problems, issues and proposed solutions
for the premier resort island of Boracay, including its closure for six months starting April 26.

To the surprise of golfers, Cimatu then talked about the playing conditions at the government and military golf courses.

Cimatu said he noticed that many trees in the PNGC has been cut or trimmed, apparently to allow more sunlight to reach the golf putting greens.

But whatever the reason, Cimatu said PNGC should have obtained DENR permits before cutting trees.

Cimatu also took issue with the water in the canals in all military courses being dirty and smelly.

“The condition prevailing in these government facilities is an embarrassment,” he said.

At first, the audience thought Cimatu was joking and they laughed.

But Cimatu repeated that he would close government golf courses if they were found to have violated DENR regulations.

The audience then realized Cimatu was serious and gave him him a very warm applause.

“What Secretary Cimatu said jolted many of us. It’s a wake -up call we all needed,” said a golfer.

p: wjg