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Olango folks welcome marine sanctuary plan

CEBU, Philippines - Residents in Barangay Talima in Olango Island welcomed a proposed ordinance regulating activities within the Talima Marine Sanctuary.

In yesterday's public hearing at the mini-city hall in Talima in Olango Island, barangay officials and residents received the news announced by Mayor Paz Radaza and members of the city council.

The proposed ordinance states that it is the policy of the city government of Lapu-Lapu to safeguard and protect the coral reef ecosystem of the Talima municipal waters which serves as the habitat, breeding, and nursery ground for fish and marine organisms.

It also states that motorized boat operators, tour operators, dive shops owners and travel agents who shall use the Talima Marine Sanctuary must register at the Office of the City Mayor and secure a mayor's permit.

The applicant should also apply for accreditation and pay an accreditation fee in the amount of P1,000.

Validity of the application shall be for one year and subject to renewal. The city of Lapu-Lapu-based applicants are given preference.

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A daily user's fee is hereby levied on those who shall use the Talima Marine Sanctuary.

The City Trerasurer's Office shall collect from any individual or groups.

An entrance fee of P50 per person shall be collected from the guests/tourists who will not go swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving but will approach the sanctuary premises either to just observe the sanctuary or go fish feeding.

Also, any yacht that will approach or pass by the sanctuary shall be charged an extra fee of P500 per unit per day.

Other fees collected includes recreational scuba divers, P100, scuba divers with camera, P200, scuba divers with video camera, P300 and researchers, P75.

The City Mayor of Lapu-Lapu is given the discretion to allow entry into the sanctuary free of charge to any government agency or academic institution for purposes beneficial to the sanctuary.

However, the agency/institution must furnish the city government of its findings.

Any person found violating this ordinance once finally approved by the city council shall upon conviction by a competent court be punished for each offense with the following: first offense-P2,000; second offense, P3,000, and third offense P5,000 plus imprisonment of six months. – THE FREEMAN

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