Bohol LGUs told: Protect marine resources, learn from Panglao’s experience

By: Doris C. Bongcac November 28,2022 - 08:49 AM
Bohol LGUs told: Protect marine resources, learn from Panglao experience

Dominic Butalid, BHOLDEX 2023 event consultant

MANDAUE CITY, Cebu – Learning from the experience of Panglao town, localities in Bohol province are told the importance of having regulations being set in place before they should start to accommodate divers and other tourists in their respective areas. 

Also, there would be a need for businesses to establish an advance reservation system to make sure that they would not exceed the authorized carrying capacity and for government to collect environmental users fee, said Dominic Butalid, event consultant for BHOLDEX: 1st Bohol Loop Dive Expo 2023.

Butalid said there is money in tourism for both the local government units and the businesses.  However, both also have a role to play in ensuring environment protection and preservation to also ensure the sustainability of the local tourism industry in Bohol province.

During the first half of 2022, the local government of Panglao earned at least P14 million in environmental users fee from the five dive sites found in Balicasag Island.

Environment users fee is pegged at P250 per diver per dive.

Pre-pandemic, revenues would normally reach around P40 million per year, Butalid said.

But there is also a cost to pay.

“Naguba ang Panglao because everybody went to Panglao as many as 500 divers a day. Naabuso ang corals, na abuso ang marine biodiversity,” he said.

(Panglao was destroyed because everybody went to Panglao (and) as many as 500 divers a day. The corals were abused, the marine biodiversity was abused.)

And while they continue to ensure the recovery and regeneration of marine resources in the different dive sites in their town, they are also launching a campaign through BHOLDEX 2023 to bring divers and other tourists to the other dive sites in Bohol province.

READ: Bohol: PADO hopes to bring divers to also explore other dive spots outside Panglao

The Panglao Association of Dive Operators (PADO) conducted series of dives in the past few months to help identify other potential dives sites in Bohol.  Through their dives, they were also able to identify areas that were fit for free diving and snorkeling among others.

So far, PADO has identified 11 localities — Guindulman, Mabini, Duero, Dimiao, Lilia, Jagna, Garcia Hernande, Valencia, Ubay, and Talibon — that have beautiful dive sites.

Butalid said these localities would be made part of the BHOLDEX Loop Dive Expo that had been scheduled in April 2023 provided that they would comply with the requirements, especially on the need for them to pass an ordinance that would regulate tourism activities in their localities.

“We want to start on the right footing, we want to keep Bohol an economic-tourist zone. Maoy mandate nato diri sa Bohol (That is our mandate here in Bohol). That’s why BHOLDEX is really a big step to us in achieving all these,” he said.

“We don’t want those things [that happened in Panglao in the past] to happen to the other municipalities. Mao nang usa a requirements aron makaapil (That is why one of the requirements to join) is they have to craft an ordinance nga naa silay (that they will have an) advance reservation system, naa silay (that they will have) carrying capacity and mocollect sila og environmental users fee para makaincome pud ang LGU (they will collect an environmental users fee so that the LGU can also have an income),” Butalid said.

And if they do things right, these localities will also start to earn like Panglao did.

“We want to share that the eastern municipalities, everybody here in Bohol.  That is why PADO is giving them support,” Butalid said.

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TAGS: BHOLDEX2023, bohol, Bohol Loop Dive Expo 2023, Cebu Daily News, cebu news, dive, dive sites, environmental users fee, marine resources, panglao, tourists
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