Alegria, Badian tourism stakeholders told: Do it right

By: Izobelle T. Pulgo, Victor Anthony V. Silva November 28,2016 - 11:14 PM

“DO it right and coordinate with each other.”

This is Cebu Provincial Tourism Officer Joselito “Boboi” Costas advice to the concerned communities of Badian and Alegria towns in southern Cebu after the Cebu Provincial Tourism Office and the Cebu Provincial Health Office found Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria in the Kanlaob River, which traverses both towns.

The river is also a hotspot for canyoneering activities of both towns, which have drawn tourists to Alegria, which is 115.8 kilometers from Cebu City and Badian which is 97.8 kilometers from Cebu City.

Costas made his call after he admitted that the Cebu province warning of E. coli contamination in parts of the Kanlaob River could undeniably affect the tourism industry of those towns.

“Of course, we do not want to hurt the tourism industry of Cebu especially that it provides to the community an income, but we also want to make sure that the health and safety of our tourist is really a primary concern,” he said.

“That’s why this is probably a way of telling the Cebu tourism industry na we should do it right when we go into tourism. Kinsa ma’y gusto ani, wala man,” he said.

Costas said that a system should ideally be in place first before any tourism activity would be conducted in order to assess, regulate, and monitor its impact on the environment as well as on the people involved and in order to come up with a scientifically-backed decisions.

Edilberto Mendoza, Cebu Association of Tour Operators (CATO) president, said that the traces of E. coli on the river could discourage tourists from visiting those towns.

“We will expect a decrease in the number of visitors in the coming days if this will not be acted upon quickly,” he said in a text message.

Mendoza said the two local government units as well as the provincial government should immediately address the matter as soon as possible.

Aside from the tourism issue, the Cebu provincial government is also calling on both municipalities to create increased awareness among the residents that water from the river is not safe for drinking.

Dr. Rene Catan, head of the Provincial Health Office said that when they received reports about a month ago that the water was contaminated, they sent a team to verify the claims, which turned out to be true.

Catan said they already informed the local government units concerned and encouraged them to put up signages, warning the public of the water’s contamination and that it is not safe to drink.

Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale said that she is aware of how the news can impact the eco-tourism industry of the province, but that is their obligation to inform the public despite the negative publicity it will bring to the thriving industry.

In addition to the placing of signages, Magpale said that they are also looking into the putting up of septic tanks in the area as it was discovered that the lack of toilets was linked to the contamination.

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TAGS: boboi, business, CANYONEERING, canyoonering, cato, Cebu, Cebu Association of Tour Operators, Cebu province, costas, income, industry, joselito, kanlaob, tourism office

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