In Santa Fe, no more drinking, eating and smoking in beach’s easement zone
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Beachgoers, who want to visit Santa Fe’s famous white-sand coastline, are told to keep their drinks, food, cigarettes and vapes away from the shore.
As hundreds hit the town’s famous beach for the Holy Week and summer, local officials remind visitors to help them keep the beach clean and orderly by complying with local laws, including an ordinance that reinforces the establishment of an easement zone.
This meant that eating, drinking and smoking would be prohibited within the 20-meter coastal easement zone, said Mayor Ithamar Espinosa in an interview with CDN Digital.
It can be recalled that Santa Fe, a fifth class municipality that formed part of the Bantayan Island group, had grappled with waste management problems, especially during Holy Week and summer.
In 2020, its local government wanted to put an end on this issue by passing an ordinance titled An Ordinance Regulating the Use of the 20-Meter Easement Zone of the Municipality of Santa Fe.
The ordinance mandates the prohibition of several activities in the identified easement zone ‘in the interest of recreation, navigation, fishing, floatage, and salvage.’
These included the sale of tobacco products, smoking cigarettes or herbs, vaping, extracting sand or pebbles, urinating or defecating, serving foods and eating, drinking liquor and other beverages, constructing or maintaining any structure, and driving any kind of motor vehicles except for emergency purposes.
According to Espinosa, keeping their easement clear of any obstructions have also resulted in fewer trash.
As a result, vendors, resort-owners and other business establishments operating near Santa Fe’s coast were told to put their dining tables and stalls outside the designated easement zone.
“When people bring food and drinks, and smoke in the coast, they’re bound to leave trash,” he said in Cebuano.
A penalty of P2,000 or imprisonment of up to 15 days, or both, will be imposed on anyone caught not following the policy.
To enforce the ordinance, they also deployed several coastal marshalls and coastal cleaners to apprehend anyone violating their law.
But for the Holy Week and the summer, Espinosa said they augmented their personnel on the beach.
At least 130 marshalls and cleaners will be monitoring and at the same time pick up trash left by beachgoers, 24/7, the mayor added.
“Local government employees and officials, even when off-duty, were also encouraged to help our marshalls and cleaners maintain the cleanliness of our beach,” Espinosa added.
When CDN Digital visited the beach on Black Saturday, April 8, a handful of beachgoers were seen being apprehended by coastal marshalls for bringing in bubble tea drinks in the easement zone.
Some were also caught littering cigarette butts, and told them to pick them up so that they could throw them in a nearby trash bin.
Meanwhile, the beach remained clean throughout Saturday afternoon, except for debris brought in from the sea like algae, plastic, and dead seagrasses.
“We hope visitors will comply with our ordinances as these will not only help our beaches stay clean but these will also benefit them, so they can really enjoy their holidays here in Santa Fe,” Espinosa said.
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