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Saving Balicasag Island

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Saving Balicasag Island
« on: June 13, 2008, 08:17:53 AM »
By Ric V Obedencio
Published by the Bohol Standard

Officials and stakeholders launched a bold step towards salvaging Balicasag island known for its rich marine biodiversity and beautiful dive sites from further destruction.

In an interview yesterday, environment committee chair Alfonso Damalerio II of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan said that Panglao town officials are strengthening measures, such as an Ordinance imposing user’s fee, apparently to give teeth to the enforcement of environmental measures for the island.

The move came in the wake of destruction by users and tourists. These ruins --- night fishing nearby using fine mesh nets, undisciplined divers taking coral species and the absence of buoys in strategic areas --- may have put the island on the verge of extinction.

During the committee meeting yesterday at the Capitol presided over by Damalerio, the stakeholders, including the Bohol Marine Triangle (BMT) and a group of resort owners identified and tried to seize some opportunities to protect and conserve what is left of the island. These include the already established BMT in law enforcement and dive shops and resorts abound wanted to cooperate.

The stakeholders strongly suggested to the provincial government to initiate a convergence for the authorities of the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) and Philippine Navy (PN) and stakeholders concerned to thresh out serious matters affecting the island.

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