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Tourists transfer to Cordova as Lapu-Lapu City imposes environmental fee

By: Futch Anthony Inso - CDN Digital Correspondent | May 01,2024 - 08:01 PM

environmental fees

Screengrabbed from Mark Ramas Ramirez’s FB post

LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu — Several local and foreign tourists who had booked island hopping tours in Lapu-Lapu City decided to transfer to Cordova town on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, reportedly to avoid paying the P100 environmental fee implemented starting that day.

According to Mark Ramirez, a pump boat operator, around four of their bookings from Lapu-Lapu City were transferred to Cordova town upon the request of their guests.

“Actually, that’s very true sir. Kung moari ka sa Cordova karon, puno kaayo ug parking kay mao lagi na, ang Lapu-Lapu nag-implement man sa P100 nga environmental fee per head. Mao na ang mga guest namo, sir, sa Lapu-Lapu nag-request gyud sila nga mobalhin nalang pod sila ug Cordova,” he said.

He said that even 16 Japanese guests, who had already arrived at the Hilton Port in Barangay Punta Engaño, Lapu-Lapu City, decided not to proceed with the island hopping activity and opted to transfer to Cordova to avoid the environmental fee.

“Gipabalik among bangka sa Cordova kay dili sila mobayad sa P1,600. Reklamo man gani, how much ang pinoy,” he added.

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He added that the new policy is detrimental to Lapu-Lapu City, whereas the town of Cordova benefits from it.

In December 2023, the ordinance imposing the collection of environmental fees was passed and subsequently signed by Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan.

The ordinance was authored by Councilor Annabeth Cuizon.

The P100 environmental fee is collected from all tourists wishing to engage in water sports and recreational activities such as scuba diving, free diving, banana boat riding, jet skiing, sea-walking, parasailing, kayaking, island hopping, and similar activities.

However, the ordinance exempts those engaging in swimming, snorkeling, and similar activities from paying the fee. Lapu-Lapu residents are also exempted from such fees.

Last month, the city installed booths in its ports where the environmental fee would be collected.

Cuizon, however, reminds those doing island hopping activities from Cordova to refrain from docking or entering the city’s islands and waters to avoid being charged the environmental fee.

“Okay raman mi sir, wala man mi problema basta dili lang sila mosulod sa Lapu-Lapu kay once mosulod sa Lapu-Lapu, part nana sa atong monitoring nga naa gyuy magtan-aw kung kinsa tong wala pa kabayad. Paninglan gyud pod na sila,” Cuizon said.

Cuizon added that they have deployed their “Bantay Dagat” and Water and Sanitation Rescuers (WASAR) to monitor and collect the environmental fees.

She said that the environmental fee differs from the user fee, as the latter is collected by the barangay and not by the city.

Cuizon also clarified that the surge in passengers in Cordova was due to many people wanting to travel to Bohol for the fiesta, and not solely because all tourists desiring island hopping activities transferred to Cordova from Lapu-Lapu City.

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TAGS: environmental fee for tourists, Lapu-Lapu City

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