File photo
File photo

Lapu Council approves P100 environmental fee collection

THE collection of the P100 environmental fee among waters, coastal resources and dive sites in Lapu-Lapu City may start by January 2024.

The Lapu-Lapu City Council approved this ordinance on its third and final reading during its regular session on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2023.

The City’s Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Climate Change Adaptation, chaired by City Councilor Celestino Aying and member Councilors Annabeth Cuizon and Linda Susan Baring and chairman of the Committee on Tourism, Cooperatives, and Livelihood Joseph Pangatungan co-authored the ordinance.

Marky Bautista, Lapu-Lapu City public information officer, said Saturday, Dec. 30, that the ordinance is now up for Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan’s signature.

Right after, Bautista said the ordinance would be forwarded for publication and take effect 15 days later.

Cuizon earlier said the fee is required to address the City’s current environmental issues, including illegal fishing, fecal coliforms presence in some of its beaches, garbage along tourist routes, coral protection, and the absence of street lights in tourist routes, among other things.

Diving sites

The ordinance identified 53 of the city’s dive sites, covered by the collection of the environmental fee.

These are Marigondon Cave, Turtle Point, Ambucan Point, Plantation Bay, Coral Point, Blue Hole, Whale Shark Point in Barangay Marigondon, J-Park Resort, Kontiki House Reef, Marine Station, Sardines-Run, Dakit-Dakit, Costabella Beach, Cebu Beach Club, Tambuli Beach, Climaco Point in Maribago, Agus Point, Hadsan Beach, Ebrada Reef, Green House Point, Cabbage Point in Agus, and Soft Coral Point and Baring Sanctuary in Baring.

Also included are Crimson Point, Mar Y Cielo, Shangri-La Reef, Shangri-La Sanctuary, Hilton Point, Kawayan Point in Mactan, Bantay Dagat Point, Mangal Point, Punta Engaño Reef in Punta Engaño, Cavern Point, Caubian Wall, Double Reef in Caubian, Mamsa Point, Talima Sanctuary, Hole In the Wall, Grouper’s Nests in Talima, San Vicente Reef, San Vicente Sanctuary, Sulpa Island Reef in San Vicente.

Others are Pangan-an Reef, 3’S Marias in Pangan-an, Black Tip Point, Sabang Sanctuary in Sabang, Tingo Point, Thresher Shark in Tingo, Pacific Point, Suba-Basbas Reef in Suba-Basbas, Caohagan Sanctuary in Caohagan, and Caw-oy Reef in Caw-oy.

Residents not included

The fee will be a one-time payment of P100 for local and international tourists who wish to do water sports and recreational activities, such as scuba diving, free diving, banana boat riding, jet skiing, sea-walker, parasailing, kayaking, island hopping, and other similar activities, except swimming and snorkeling, conducted near the shorelines of resorts and public beaches.

Lapu-Lapu residents are excluded from the fee payment provided they present a valid ID with a residential address in the City. Filipino children aged 12 and below are also excused from the fee collection.

Meanwhile, Filipino senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) are granted a 20 percent discount upon the presentation of valid identification cards.

Collecting sites, TWG

The City Treasurer’s Office (CTO) will oversee the accumulation of environmental fees and the establishment of initial collection sites. Additionally, they will implement a digital or online method of collection, allowing owners and/or operators of watersports and recreational activity facilities to facilitate the payment of fees for their customers.

The ordinance initially identified Angasil, Maribago, Punta Engaño (Hilton), and Marigondon, including the CTO as initial collection sites.

The ordinance also mandates establishing a technical working group comprising members from the City’s Local Finance Committee, City Environment, and Natural Resources Officer, and committee chairpersons of the Sangguniang Panlungsod Committees in Environment, Tourism, Way and Means to formulate and improve its Implementing Rules and Regulations.

Penalties

Watersports and recreational facility operators and or owners who tolerate and allow any individual who fails or refuses to pay the environmental fee will be penalized with a written warning for the first offense, a fine of P3,500, and a written warning on the probable revocation of the business permit for the second offense, and a fine of P5,000 and revocation of business permit for the third offense.

Seventy percent of the funds generated from the environmental fee and penalties from violations will be deposited to an Environmental Trust Fund (ETF), while 30 percent will be accounted for the administrative, miscellaneous, and other operating expenses of the City Government through its general fund.

As explained in the proposed ordinance, the ETF will be used for proposals of programs, projects, and activities related to ecological restoration of marine sanctuaries, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and implementation of measures to address noise, air, and other forms of pollution that are detrimental to the overall environmental health of Oponganons.

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