Safety gear, trained scuba divers mulled in sports measure



Instead of regulating the sport itself, why not regulate its safety gear?

This was suggested by  Gary  Cases, an official of the Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving (PCSSD), during Friday’s  public hearing  on a  proposed Provincial Ordinance regulating  scuba diving in Cebu.

Cases said  mishandled  diving gear would pose more danger to the person using it.

Cases, who is also a dive shop operator in Malapascua Island, cited an incident in Bohol where a dive shop worker   lost his hand when an oxygen tank exploded.

“Tanks are like bombs. Mishandling them  could endanger the lives of people,” he told the Provincial Board (PB).

Also  present in the public hearing was PB member Sun Shimura, Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy, ,  dive shop operators and tourism students of the University of San Carlos (USC).

Cases also suggested that foreigners should  be covered in the regulation of individuals under the proposed ordinance.

He said an  ordinance would be a big help to to  his organization since the PCSSD has no police powers over individual divers.

PCSSD is an accrediting organization for dive shops and water sports activities, and is an attached agency of the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Mayor Sitoy said that a foreigner, before going diving, must be certified by  the hotel or dive shop operator that he has complied with the requirements under Section 4 of the proposed ordinance.

Under this requirement,  a diver must have  completed at least 10 hours of combined classroom and pool water training conducted by a duly certified diving instructor.

Daanbantayan municipal administrator Mamerto RodrigoRodrigo  said that  the local government must be the one to collect the penalties under Section 6.  He said this should be an “administrative fine” instead of a “judicial fine.”

PB member Arleigh Sitoy, sponsor of the  proposed ordinance, said he would welcome all suggestions. /Correspondent Carmel Loise Matus

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  • Andy Davis

    Sadly, the article is quite incoherent – so the nature and scope of these possible ordinances is hard to define. 

    Regulations preventing unsafe ‘cowboy’ diving operations would be a very beneficial improvement for diver safety in the Philippines. 

    However, some of the commentary in this article seems to illustrate that the proposed regulation might far exceed basic dive operation safety – and lead to contradiction against the training standards and service provision otherwise provided by the scuba agencies themselves and the WRSTC (world recreational scuba training council).

    The article mentions proposals that’d actually make the conduct of DSD (discover scuba) illegal. That’d be a huge blow to tourism and the success of individual dive centers.

    I’ve seen ‘bad’ scuba regulation occur in other countries (such as Thailand, and in Europe) – all of it resulting from insufficient subject-matter-expert consultation by the policy makers (who are rarely expert divers…or divers at all).

    Eventually, those regulations were repealed..and common-sense prevailed. Does the Philippines have to follow in the footprints of others’ mistakes?

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