Danish Investor Rages Against Filipino Government

Flemming H. Laursen is angry and frustrated. Ignoring and overruling his protests, the Filipino court has decided to tear down his island resort – despite the fact that he runs a legal business and has all the paper work in order. The decision was made during a trial he was not allowed to attend.

Ten years ago, Danish Flemming H. Laursen bought the St. Bernhard Resort on the beach of Bantayan Island in the Philippines. In 2002, Flemming was contacted by the Department of Environment and Nature (DENR). He and his resort needed official approval from the government because the island was under environmental protection.
According to Flemming, he accepted this, and in 2004 he had all the approvals and documentation he needed to keep his business up and running. For five years, everything ran smoothly, but in 2009, a private environmental organization started accusing the DENR of issuing permissions and approvals that went against the law. The problem was that the buildings of the resort were located too close to the water front.

Flemming was confused by this:

“There is no such thing as a map of where the highest water level is, so really nobody is able to determine how much of the beach had eroded over the past 14 years,” he says.

Flemming explains that the case was brought to court where the two parties, the DENR and the environmental organization, presented their views. The Danish resort owner, who would be directly affected by whatever the output, however, was denied permission to explain his side of the events during the trial. The court ruled that the St. Bernhard resort was to be demolished.

“I was only able to read that in the paper,” Flemming explains. ”We didn’t even get a letter or anything like that.”

The demolition will be executed by the DENR, and Flemming and his staff will probably not be given any notice or warning about when or how it will happen, he says. So far, the DENR has cleared two resorts without allowing the owner to remove any of the inventory.

“It all sounds like a bad joke,” he says. “All I know is that everything we have built up will be torn down, and we don’t even get a say in any of it.”

“We have been denied fair, due process, and have been excluded from all legal considerations and actions taken to date. We have born in silence, accusations of malpractice and racial slurs, in the hope that common sense and truth would prevail. We believed that the Philippine justice system could, and would allow us an opportunity to present our side of the issues, for the purpose of rendering a more balanced and considered decision,” he concludes.

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