One major reason why Bohol, especially Panglao Island, is a favourite tourist destination is that it has one of the most beautiful and healthy coral species in its seabed. The corals must therefore be protected and conserved at all cost.
We have heard and read of news of coral bleaching in the areas surrounding the Blicasag Island off the coast of Panglao but that was because of severe dry season brought about by the El Niño phenomenon. There was little government could have done about that. But what Bohol News Today headlined last Wednesday was definitely shocking and if the Department of Tourism, the Provincial Government of Bohol and the Municipal Government of Panglao have not done collectively then we have helped drive the first nail that would crucify and kill the onemajor attraction of Bohol to tourists.
I called Noel Hormachuelos, municipal administrator of Panglao to ask what action the local government has done about it. I was glad to be told that an investigation has been initiated and some suspects have already been identified but the result cannot yet be divulged until the investigation is completed. I tried calling Jo Cabarrus of the Tourism Office of the provincial government but she could not be reached or her phone was unattended.
Why would a diver who came to marvel at the corals of Bohol do such kind of thing to that beautiful coral underneath the sea? What did he or she (the diver) expect to achieve by engraving the word “Kingdom” in bold on that coral wall? He or she was not only defacing it. He/she was killing it. And how many of his or her kind are now in Bohol with the same intention or attitude?
I would like to thank and commend Rene Sugiyama for taking the picture of this vandalism off Brgy. Doljo, Panglaoand posting it on his Facebook account. By so doing he has brought to the attention of the public this act of vandalism that is going to kill not only our corals but also eco-tourism in Bohol. Whoever that vandal is should be tied with 500 kilos of lead weight on his/her neck and deposited right in front of that coral he vandalized until all the molmols and danggits have fed on his/her flesh. My God let’s hate the coral vandals and their kind.
Some months ago Holger Horn, the president of the divers association in Panglao informed me that he has some pictures to show the extent of destruction of corals in Panglao. I did not expect it was this type of destruction. We never had the time to meet.
Whoever is in-charge of giving permits to would- be divers should properly screen these divers to make sure that they are not the “kingdom” kind of divers. I have learned that some of the dive centers operating in Panglao have no business nor transient permits. So why are they still allowed to operate?
Crown Kingdom, a Korean dive center in Palm Island Resort also in Doljo should help find this vandal diver if only to clear its name from complicity and possible promotion of unwanted diver habit and behaviour. The engraved work “Kingdom” has also a king’s crown engraved above it.
Again since this is election time and we are looking for the best leaders to lead us for the next three years in the local government, let us choose those who have clear program on environment protection and conservation. Let us reject the vandal type of candidates.
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