Vandalism of Panglao Coral reefs exposed

PANGLAO, Bohol – Aside from the reported deleterious fishing methods in this premier tourist town where dive for corals is of paramount concern because of its multifarious benefits, vandalism underwater has been recently uncovered.

One such undersea vandalism is off barangay Doljo, Rena Sugiyama said in her fb post dated March 22, 2016. A big bold word “Kingdom” was engraved on to a healthy coral reef of said area.

She said, “March 19, 2016 at Doljo. Look at this. Kingdom written on healthy coral by stupid diver. (There’s new Korean dive center “CROWN KINGDOM” in Palm Island resort Doljo. Is it coincident “Kingdom”?)

And her post generated an avalanche of adverse comments.

Holger Horn said in his fb post, “First of all they are not PADO member. We need to find out if they have a transient permit. If not, then they are clearly violating already. Monday will be the of action. An investigation is already on its way. Unfortunately the easter season stopped it from progressing.”

Coastal Recourse Management consultant and tourism officer Darwin Menorias they have already filed a complaint against the said establishment for coral defacement and put it on police record.

He said he already informed Horn that “this establishment does not have neither local business permit nor transient permit. What we need to establish is how we can implicate this dive center from the vandalism without jeopardy of due process.”

Vince Cinches had this to say: “Darwin, citizen suit is welcome against them without jeopardizing the other legal process.”

“Idiots who don’t care about the sea,” Christophe JC Lamotte said.

Ally Cologne joined in the comments, saying “This is cruel. Hope the offenders are found and severely unished.

Frank Yamamoto added, “They need to be sent back home. Sorry I am a foreigner myself but I respect the underwater world here… they can do that where they come from. What a shame.”

It will be recalled that officials here led by Mayor Leonila Montero and Vice-Mayor Pedro Fuertes have already set the rules to strictly enforce the carrying capacity of its rich scuba dive sites, Menorias earlier said.

The municipal ordinance will be implemented in all 16 dive sites. But first, the enforcers are focusing on Balicasag island, off barangay Poblacion, which “is undeniably the prime attraction of Bohol divers,” he said. It has five sites: Diver’s Haven, Royal Garden, Marine sanctuary, Rudy’s Rock and Black Forest.

Menorias and tourist police officers led by Jojit Mananquil, consultant Danny Reyes and other enforcers, agreed that information dissemination through face-to-face dialogue must be conducted among the stakeholders of said island.

Menorias said that the basis of the enforcement is the Municipal Ordinance No.11, series of 2014, Amending An Ordinance No. 03, series of 2008, “An Ordinance providing for the establishment of environmental users activity system in the municipality of Panglao, Bohol, and imposing fees thereof.”

The municipal government shall implement the “no ticket, no dive policy” under section 14 of said measure, which provides “monitoring, collection and inspection of tickets shall be conducted in a manner convenient to the tourist and/or dice centers/shops/operators effecting efficient collections.”

The municipality under the Montero-Fuertes tendem tries to attain the objectives of (a) sustaining and managing the utilization of the marine resources; (b) minimizing the negative impact due to related activities; (c) increasing revenue collection; and (d) implementing the provision of the Ordinance. (rvo)

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