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Moalboal gov’t launches investigation on viral diving incident

By: Morexette Marie Erram - CDN Digital | March 14,2024 - 10:04 AM

Moalboal diving

This is a screenshot of a tourist touching a sea turtle while diving in the waters of Tañon Strait off the coast of Moalboal in Cebu.

CEBU CITY, Philippines—The local government of Moalboal town in southwestern Cebu reminded the public not to touch marine wildlife when diving in their seawaters.

This after a diver was caught on video touching a passing turtle while diving in Tañon Strait near Panagsama Beach, in Moalboal.


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The municipality has launched an investigation into the incident, photos and videos of which went viral.

Penalty for touching marine wildlife

In a statement, the local government unit (LGU) asked the public and concerned citizens to help them the identify the diver in question.

“Palihug contact ang Office of the Mayor o ang Moalboal Tourism Office,” they stated.

(Please contact the Office of the Mayor or the Moalboal Tourism Office.)

Authorities also reminded the public of an existing ordinance that imposes a P2,500 penalty to anyone caught touching turtles and other marine wildlife.

Mayor’s statement

The town does have an ordinance prohibiting the touching of marine wildlife for its protection.

Innocentes Cabaron, the mayor of Moalboal, issued a statement regarding the matter.

“We treasure and protect our marine life because as a tourist town, it is a major factor in our economy. We will not tolerate actions such as this and we will ensure that the individual will be fined to discourage similar reckless actions,” he said via a press release from the Moalboal LGU.

In the press release, Mayor Cabaron said the local tourism office is working diligently to professionalize the snorkeling guides and to have them accredited with the Department of Tourism.

The Moalboal LGU, the press release said, recently conducted a seven-day seminar for some 200 guides to teach them the proper protocols in handling guests and marine life.

Moalboal is a fourth-class municipality located approximately 90 kilometers southwest of Cebu City.

It is also one of the country’s popular diving spots.

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TAGS: animals, marine life, tourism

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