ANDA, Bohol – Incumbent Mayor Metudio “Dodong” Amper has strongly defended the imposition of the environmental fee to users of public beach in this town. Objection to the said environmental fee imposition was raised again over DyTR program yesterday. Mayor Amper also defended the allegations that public beach of rich white sand deposits is not being cleared of especially this time of the year wherein south moonsoon wind blown adrift debris or seaweeds ashore. He said that his administration has been and still is keeping with the environment clean.
On the issue of environmental fee, the mayor said that he just inherited the implementation of the said imposition. But he still implemented it and the proceeds of the said fees go to the barangays concerned without a share to the municipal government apparently for maintenance of the public beach.
The scheme (giving all proceeds to to the barangay) may be contrary to the previous administration which apportioned a share to the barangay concerned, he said.
Preservation and protection of the environment particularly its kilometric white powdery sand beaches in this fifth class cape town is on top of the agenda hence the strict implementation of environmental fee imposed on transient visitors, said former Mayor Angelina Simacio said earlier.
Flor Garcia, whose husband is a foreigner and owner of Flower Beach Resort in barangay Candabong, said she is not happy with the imposition. She said that the environmental fee defeats the purpose of luring tourists, especially the locals who come here in droves from interior town because they wanted to enjoy swimming the white beach.
She went on questioning was there a public hearing conducted before the approval of the measure. She admitted however that his clientele has diminished
But the ex-mayor was unperturbed during her stint as mayor and stood firm to implement the ordinance imposing the said fee. She explained that it is very important that this town is doing what is right, saying she has to regulate what she called “wastes” such as plastic bags and other non-biodegradale ones brought by the picnickers.
Income from this imposition is for the maintenance of these beaches especially the public beach just stone throw away managed by the municipal government and construction of facilities, she said.
Reactions of this charge are varied. Some visitors being interviewed said they favor it others don’t.
Collectors of this imposition were used to be stationed near the boundary of this town and Guindulman town.
Municipal Ordinance No. 02-01-11, “imposing environmental fee to transient visitors/beach goers who will be bathing and diving in the beaches and caves and/or visiting for sight-seeing all tourist spots” of this town.
But only vehicles are being charged not the beach goers on board those vehicles. Ten-wheeler is charged PhP300 per entry; six to 8 wheeler, PhP200; family van, PhP100; multi-cab, PhP50; tricycle, PhP30; and motorcycle, PhP20, the Ordinance provides.
It mandates all beach goers and visitors to strictly “enjoined to maintain the cleanliness and sanitation fo the places they are visiting and having their meals.”
Violators will be slapped with fines and penalties of not less than PhP1,500 and not to exceed PhP2,500 or 30-day imprisonment or both “at the discretion of the court.” The ordinance is signed by Kagawads Jocelyn B. Tan, Vicente J. Tinio, Jr., Luchie D. Tongco, Leonardo A. Deloso, Cipriana A. Amoguis, Kenn E. Paganao, John Louis C. Deligero and Nilo J. Bersabal and vice-mayor/presiding officer Paulino T. Amper and Mayor Simacio as certified by Mun. secretary TEresita D. Orias. Kag. Rogelio D. Ampong did not affix his signature.
Meanwhile, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan has returned and did not approve the said measure, saying “it contravenes section 447, (a), (1), (iii) of RA 7160 in the imposition of the penalty. Considering that it is a revenue raising ordinance, the required public hearing must be conducted pursuant to section 186” of the Code.
The provincial board through the recommendation of the review committee noted that the tile of the ordinances “speaks of visitors/beach goers, it would be more convenient if the fee should be collected based on the number of persons not the vehicle being use per recommendation of the Provincial Legal Office.” (rvo)