TWO endemic species were spotted at the canyoneering river route in the boundary of Alegria and Badian towns, southern Cebu by the assessment team of the Cebu Provincial Tourism Office recently.
The team was on their way to Barangay Matutinao in Badian with a community guide when they chanced upon a black shama, locally known as “Siloy” and the Cebu frill-wing damselfly, which are both endangered.
“We found the Siloy near the entrance in Matutinao where there are settlements,” Provincial Tourism head Boboi Costas said.
The Cebu frill-wing damselflies are similar to dragonflies, but are smaller, have slimmer bodies.
They are beautiful and black with unusual blue eyes.
Costas said they were not expecting that the bird would be that close to residents.
The team discovered the two endangered species while conducting an eco-socio demographic assessment in Kanlaob river route that passes through the boundaries of Alegria and Badian.
The assessment will help them formulate policies that would govern local tourism activities there and settle the towns’ differences, said Costas.
“We are coming up with an economic profile of the community by asking the people how they are using, exploiting the river; their source of income; type of housing materials; how they treat the forest and the river and how they manage their garbage,” he said.
The data gathered will be used to help the team formulate measures that will be submitted to the Cebu Provincial Board and the governor.
Any measure approved will help the Provincial Government oversee tourism activity in the two towns, which are earning millions in revenues for the residents and the municipal governments.
Last Sept. 12, during the Capitol’s Caravan of Services in Badian, Sulsugan Barangay Captain Teofilo Caballero remitted P80,000 in canyoneering revenues for three days alone to the municipality.
Caballero said the town and the barangay have yet to share the money.
The Capitol team conducted an inventory of the birds, vegetation, insects, soil and water and creatures living in the river.
The assessment covered seven barangays namely Lepanto, Guadalupe, Valencia, Compostela, all in Alegria; and Barangays Sulsugan, Balhaan and Matutinao in Badian.
“This will help residents realize how valuable plant and animal species are, so it will be easy for the Province and the community to declare their river a locally protected area,” said Costas.
Learning how they manage their solid waste will also enable the Capitol to regulate and impose measures to preserve and maintain cleanliness in the area.
The team and will present the consolidated data in their next joint meeting on Oct. 21 with Alegria and Badian officials.
The team learned that Kanlaob river, the host of the canyoneering activity, has nine stations, where there are seven “jumps.”
The area being disputed by the two towns is in the third up to the seventh jump stations.
The first and second stations are in Alegria, while the 8th and 9th stations are in Badian.
Alegria’s canyoneering package starts from the first up to the 7th station while Badian’s canyoneering activity starts from the third to 9th station.
“Both parties agreed not to co-manage the river, as they both agreed that it will be the Province who would oversee the canyoneering tourism activity, and each town would sell their tourism package separately,” Costas said after their recent meeting.
He is confident that Capitol will be able to settle the dispute amicably.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 16, 2016.
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