SANTA Fe Mayor Jose Esgana is appealing to put an end to the issue that shipping vessels plying the Hagnaya-Santa Fe route do not have human waste holding tanks.

In a press conference Thursday night, Esgana asked tourism stakeholders in the town if they could sit together and discuss how they could work to ensure the safety of tourists and residents. He also vowed to be more vigilant about keeping the town clean.

Appeal

“I’m appealing to the shipping company to let us put an end to this... Let us work together. If possible, let us forget about the miscommunication that happened,” Esgana said, referring to earlier allegations that shipping company Island Shipping Corp. (ISC) dumped human waste into the sea.

Esgana said what happened was a case of “miscommunication” between the municipality and ship vessel owners regarding waste disposal and the availability of sewage tanks.

No pinpointing

The mayor said he did not name anyone in particular as the source of the human waste seen along the shoreline.

He explained that after international non-government organization Oxfam held a seminar on septage management last year, the town’s newly designated municipal environment and natural resources officer inspected and interviewed the crew of the two shipping companies, including ISC, on how their wastes are disposed of.

He said if he only knew and if the municipality was furnished copies of the ship sanitation control certificates issued by the Bureau of Quaratine to ISC, he would have not conducted another inspection last May 29.

The Environmental Management Bureau 7 has said that passenger vessels of ISC and another shipping company are equipped with sewage tanks.

The Santa Fe Tourism Enterprises Association (SAFETEA) and Esgana called for the press conference to promote the town’s tourism industry as well as clear out the issue.

Assurance

SAFETEA is a group of porters, pedicab drivers, market vendors, hotel, restaurant and resort owners and all who have businesses in the Santa Fe that seeks to promote the town to locals and tourists.

Santa Fe is one of three municipalities in Bantayan Island, a popular tourism destination in Cebu.

Nelson Yuvallos, president of SAFETEA, pledged that they will help the municipality ensure that the shoreline is clean.

He said barangay tanods have been deployed to patrol the shoreline so the area will not be polluted.

“In fact, ISC has been helping promote the town’s tourism because (their vessles are the ones bringing) tourists to Santa Fe,” Yuvallos said.

Also present during the press conference were beach resort owners Maria Dolorez Rimaz of Hoyohoy Resort, Paul Holaysan of Ogtong Resort and Ulysses Castillo of Sunday Flower Resort.