With the summer season drawing near, there have been many summer activities and tourist attractions being promoted in the City. Among these tourist attractions are the floating cottages being offered in the coastal barangays such as Manga and Ubujan. However, it has been pointed out that due to the lack of regulations in the operations of the said floating cottages they present a risk to the eco-balance in the waters where they are operating. Thus, the Fourteenth Sangguniang Panlungsod, with Hon. Vice Mayor Jose Antonio S. Veloso at the helm, believed that it is necessary to draft a city ordinance that will regulate the construction and operation of all these floating cottages plying within the jurisdiction of Tagbilaran City to ensure the safety of the public and to protect the marine life within these waters.Under the Local Government Code (Republic Act 7160), it defined “municipal waters” as the inland waters and marine waters up to 15 kilometers from the coastline. And as mentioned in Section 131 of the said law, this gives cities and municipalities exclusive authority to grant fishery privileges in these municipal waters. Furthermore, Section 16 of the Philippine Fisheries Code (Republic Act 8550) strengthened the jurisdiction of cities and municipalities over the aforementioned municipal waters.The City Council was apprised by the Sangguniang Barangay of Ubujan with the rising number of floating cottages operating in the cities’ waters and the latter have expressed worry on its detrimental effects especially in the Mabaw reef which is considered a sanctuary for marine life. The city council lauded Barangay Ubujan’s efforts in passing an ordinance to help solve the issue of rising number of floating cottages. However, per recommendation of the 14th SP as the reviewing body of the barangay’s ordinance, for uniformity and equity among all floating cottages operators in the City, it would be much better that the city-wide ordinance be created and implemented and not just in Ubujan. The drafting of the city ordinance shall be created with the assistance and coordination of the City Tourism Office and the City Planning and Development Office thru the City Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO).
March 12, 2021