(SPOT.ph) The Malay local government in Aklan has ordered the immediate shut down of West Cove Hotel, famously known as "Pacman Resort," in Sitio Diniwid, Barangay Yapak, Boracay, for violating the National Building Code of the Philippines, reports ABS-CBN News. Apart from not having a building permit and the license to operate for two years, the report said the hotel also affected the area’s ecosystem.
"There have already been notices sent to the management of West Cove Hotel na pinapasara sila (that they're being closed down) because of certain violations," said Chair of the Committee on Laws and Ordinances Rugen Aguirre. According to ABS-CBN News, the Philippine National Police and the Boracay Special Tourist Police are to implement the immediate closure of West Cove. The municipal engineer was also tasked to remove and destroy all illegal structures.
West Cove Hotel owner Crisostomo Aquino, a close friend of boxing champ Manny Pacquiao, maintained that he had the blessing of then Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary Lito Atienza and insisted its operation was legal. Aquino also added that they had been granted a 25-year Forest Land Agreement for Tourism Purposes.
However, Loubelle Cann, president of the Boracay Foundation Incorporated, said that the hotel's structure has bad effects on the environment. According to previous reports, West Cove had already drawn criticism as early as its construction in 2009 for damaging the already fragile coral reefs of Boracay.
"The government has to do what it can to stop these practices even if it will affect business," Cann said.
For more on this story, log on to ABS-CBN News.