MISAMIS ORIENTAL (PIA)–The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB)-10 during a recently held “Talakayan sa PIA” media forum, has called on “balsa” operators in the beaches of Misamis Oriental to be responsible enough for their daily operations.
“Balsa” or wooden rafts used as floating cottages have grown in numbers and some patrons have been allegedly throwing their wastes into the sea.
“We do not oppose any economic activity through tourism. What raised the alarm is the apparent negligence in disposing of garbage by the patrons who had come to board the balsa,” EMB-10 Regional Director Reynaldo S. Digamo said.
Aside from the wastes thrown into the sea, visible damage to the corals was observed by scuba divers because of the anchors that hold the “balsa” in place.
“I have talked to some scuba divers and they were alarmed to see damaged corals aside from the wastes and plastics,” he added.
Digamo also disclosed that there is only one resort owner located in San Jose, Gingoog City that had applied for an Environmental Compliance Certificate as operator of the balsa.
The condition that the EMB has given to the said operator is to have his balsa afloat a few meters from the shoreline where there are no corals. The regulation in distance is to avoid any damage to the corals due to the anchors of the balsa, and to avoid damaging the corals like what happened in the municipalities of Laguindingan and Alubijid.
EMB has encouraged the operators to have an incentive system for their patrons such as having an initial deposit of P100 on top of the balsa rental fees. The deposit will be then collected by the patrons after they present to the management that they have brought back their wastes to the shore as they leave the balsa. In this way, the economic activity brought by balsa in the municipality will continue and at the same time the environment is being taken care of and the wastes are being managed. (JAKA/PIA10)