Water quality at Panglao improving, tests show
TAGBILARAN CITY — Latest tests done by the environment department on the waters of Panglao Island in Bohol province, showed that most areas frequented by tourists there were safe for swimming.
“Panglao seas are safe for swimming and bathing,” Panglao Mayor Leonila Paredes-Montero said in an interview aired over radio station dyRD on Monday night.
The towns of Panglao and Dauis compose Panglao Island, considered the crown jewel of Bohol tourism.
Montero said results of the water quality tests conducted by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) in Panglao last month showed that coliform level in Alona beach was down to 33 most probable number (mpn) per 100 milliliters (ml), way below the acceptable level of 100 mpn/100 ml.
Tests done on water samples from Tawala 1, where Alona beach is located, registered coliform level of below 100 mpn/100 ml.
Water samples taken from the same area in October showed colifom level of 16,000 mpn/100 ml, prompting the Department of Tourism to declare the waters on Alona beach unsafe for swimming.
Of the 10 sampling stations, water taken from three areas showed unsafe levels. Danao 2 and Danao 3 posted 350 mpn/100 ml, while Doljo 2 had 240 mpn/100 ml.
The sampling station at Doljo 1 had 50 mpn/100 ml, while those at Danao 1, Tawala 2, Tawala 3, Bolod 1 and Bolod 2 recorded below 50 mpn/100 ml.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat earlier said the government had ordered a swimming ban at Alona beach in Panglao, Bohol, and at Buena Suerte beach in El Nido town, Palawan province, because coliform levels in these areas had exceeded the acceptable level.
Puyat said imposing the ban was part of the ongoing rehabilitation of El Nido and Panglao.
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, during an inspection here in March, gave owners of illegal structures on Panglao Island six months to demolish these, warning violators of court cases.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources earlier identified the lack of wastewater treatment facility and “bottomless” septic tanks as among the problems contributing to environmental problems on the resort island.
In Manila, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said President Duterte would allow the six-month rehabilitation of Panglao and El Nido without ordering their closure like what the government did on Boracay Island.
“The Cabinet agreed that there was no need to issue an executive order,” Panelo said in a statement on Wednesday.
“No closure but rehabilitation,” Puyat said in a text message.
Coron, Siargao next
She said Mr. Duterte and the Cabinet approved the recommendation of the task force that was formed to look into the state of tourism destinations in the country. Puyat, Cimatu and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año lead the task force.
“[The President] also instructed us to do other major destinations that do not follow environmental laws … The President said all major tourist destinations should follow environmental laws,” Puyat said.
She said they would visit Coron in Palawan and Siargao in Surigao del Norte province, “possibly by next year.” —With a report from Christine O. Avendaño
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