Lapu-Lapu earns P4.2M from ‘green’ fee

Lapu-Lapu earns P4.2M from ‘green’ fee
Lapu Lapu City logo.

TWO months after implementing the environmental fee of P100, the Lapu-Lapu City Government has collected P4.234 million in revenue, marking a significant financial boost for local initiatives.

According to the data of the City Treasurer’s Office (CTO), the office responsible for the collection, P2,088,290 was collected for the entire month of May and P2,146,635 for the month of June.

Emeterio Bonghanoy, Lapu-Lapu City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) head, told SunStar in a phone interview on Saturday, July 6, 2024, that the income will be used to address environmental issues immediately.

Available funding

“The implementation have shown good results. The purpose of the environmental fees is to plan and produce a lot of projects concerning the environment. Now, there’s no longer a need to wait for volunteers or the private sector because there is already an available fund to address these environmental issues,” said Bonghanoy in Cebuano.

Since the ordinance took effect last May 1, all local and international tourists engaging in water sports and recreational activities like scuba and freediving, jet skiing, banana boat riding, sea-walking, parasailing, kayaking and island hopping, among others, are obliged to pay a P100 environmental fee.

Bonghanoy said they plan to endorse the construction of a tourist hub in Maribago, one of the four ports designated for collecting the environmental fee.

The other three are the ports of Angasil, Punta Engaño (Hilton) and Marigondon.

He said the facility will serve as a waiting lounge with clean comfort rooms where visitors can relax.

However, this initiative will depend on the City Council’s approval, he added.

City Councilor Annabeth Cuizon, the ordinance’s author, said their initial objective was to raise funds to implement projects, such as coral rehabilitation, garbage collection, monitoring of illegal fishing and water pollution.

“We came to realize that what we were doing was regulating the use of our natural resources. It’s not all about the money collected after all, it’s about regulating the usage of our marine resources and at the same time preserving our environment,” Cuizon said.

Waste management

Aside from the positive outcome of the revenue generated, the implementation of the ordinance has discouraged boat operators and island hoppers from littering the waters off the city.

“Island hoppers no longer throw their trash into the water. Besides, there are people who collect trash inside the boats,” Bonghanoy said.

He pointed out that garbage is also no longer visible along the shores since this is regularly picked by collectors under the mandate of the CTO.

He said they also placed trash bins at the four ports where visitors can throw their garbage.

He said Cenro has deputized two groups to strictly monitor if boat and island-hopping operators follow the imposed environmental ordinance by showing their environmental tickets.

So far, there have been no reported cases of apprehended operators, he said.

Under the ordinance, children aged 12 and below are exempted from paying the fee, while senior citizens and persons with disabilities receive a 20 percent discount.

Those caught not paying the environmental fee will receive a written warning for the first offense. Those caught for the second time will be made to pay a fine of P3,500 and receive a written warning on the probable revocation of the business permit for boat operators and owners of recreational facilities.

Third-time offenders will be made to pay a fine of P5,000, while the business permit of boat operators and owners of recreational facilities will be revoked. / DPC

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