A COASTAL and underwater cleanup drive was held at the Mactan Newtown Beach and the Mactan Shrine in Lapu-Lapu City on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, a day after the culmination of the three-day Philippine Tourism Dive Dialogue led by Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco in Cebu City.
Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco, who graced the activity, told reporters they created the initiative with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and other stakeholders to prioritize cleaning the country’s coastal and underwater environment and to commemorate International Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday, Sept. 16.
Frasco said their aim is to strengthen the conservation of the country’s natural resources, particularly dive spots, which attract lots of local and foreign tourists and have become a major source of livelihood for many Filipinos.
“The culture of conservation (natural resources) must go hand in hand with the culture of tourism. Without one, we cannot have the other. This is just the beginning,” she said.
The tourism secretary said they want to give all local government units (LGUs) in the country a chance to develop their dive spots into tourism destinations through the activity.
She encouraged LGUs to conduct regular coastal cleanups and come up with other means to protect natural resources, as this will only result in an improved tourism industry.
In his speech, Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan thanked Frasco for choosing Lapu-Lapu City as the location for the Philippine Tourism Dive Dialogue’s launching.
Chan pointed out that Lapu-Lapu City, as an “island city” blessed with an abundant marine ecosystem and one of the top tourist destinations in the country, needs to conserve its marine life.
He said that to celebrate International Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday, they would conduct coastal cleanups in the city’s 30 barangays in Mactan Island and 11 barangays in Olango Island on Saturday.
He also urged the public to be responsible and not to throw garbage in the water, saying that keeping the city’s coasts and underwater environment clean must be a joint effort between the government and its citizens. / HIC