It appears that unauthorized boat operations are the culprit in dolphin-chasing activity instead of whale-dolphin-watching off Baclayon and Panglao towns. Though the committee report as adopted by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan during the regular session on Friday presided over by acting Vice-Gov. Benjie Arcamo did not categorically pinpoint the blame on unlawful boat operations.
But the report rendered by tourism chairperson Board Member Kristine Alexie B. Tutor has spotted the apparent cause based on Darwin Menorias, Panglao coastal resource management officer, revelation regarding the said activity. “There are 400 pumpboats for dolphin watching in Panglao and only one-fourth (¼) were registered by MARINA,” Menoarias told the committee during its meeting held on Jan. 23, 2018.
This means that 300 other motorized boats used for the dolphin watching are unlawful although the owners of these illegal operation were not named in the report. The report indicated that only 5% of the dolphin watching operate off Baclayon town where the oldest stone church is located, about six kms. east of capital, Tagbilaran City.
In Baclayon town, there are 50 motorized banca for whale-dolphin watching being registered with MARINA. The conduct of whale watching activities off Baclayon town is governed by municipal ordinance “providing regulations of a more sustainable cetacean tourism management thru the use of cetacean interaction guidelines, user fees, licensing system, setting manageable limits for tourism and preferential access for the former whale hunters within the territorial waters” of the town.
Menorias said he proposed foa tracking system that shall monitor pumpboats conducting dolphin-watching tours, by which “any boat that goes beyond the zone intended for the tour shall be seen at the monitor prompting the Coast Guard or Bantay Dagat to immediately go after the boat.” This system may help the law enforcers, like the Coast Guard, in apprehending the violators considering that Panglao island has many entry points for dolphin-watching tour, Menorias said.
Tutor succeeded in proposing for some legislative measures in managing or controlling the dolphin-watching activities as approved by the provincial board. The Sanguniang Panlalawigan has ruled in a Resolution for Panglao, Dauis and Baclayon towns thru the law enforcers “to strictly monitor the conduct of the said tour to ensure the safety and security of the tourists and boat operators do not resort to dolphin chasing and that the conduct of such may be done in environmentally-friendly manner.
It also passed the BM Tutor-sponsored Resolution urging Dauis and Panglao to determine a location for “One Entry, One Exit” policy in their respective turfs to assure the effective dolphin watching monitoring. Creating of a tri-partite body for Baclayon, Dauis and Panglao towns is also proposed as approved by the SP to harmonize the conduct of dolphin-watching tour and monitor compliance with laws and policies, the report said.
BM Tutor also moved for the passage of an Ordinance regulating the dolphin-watching tour and providing guidelines and penalties for violations. Aside from Tutor, acting vice-Gov Atty. Benjie Arcamo, vice-chair of tourism committee; BM AGapito Avenido and BM Atty. Abeleon Damalerio, chair and vice-chair of environment committee; BM Ricjy Masamayor, tourism committee member; and BM Elpidio Jala, vice-chair, trade and industry committee signed the said joint committee report. (rvo)