By J. Jala | 10:06 PM January 13, 2020
The next time you take a selfie and groufie at the famed man-made forest in Loboc and Bilar, prepare to pay.
The Protective Area Management Board (PAMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) at Loboc Watershed Forest Reserve (LWFR) has started to implement and collect standard entrance and parking fees at man-made forest situated between Bilar and Loboc towns starting Monday, January 13, 2020.
The fees are as follows:
Entrance fee for foreigners – Php100, Filipino – Php30, student – Php15, free entrance for persons with disabilities and senior citizens as long as valid IDs are presented.
Parking fees for tricycle – Php20 for 2 hours and additional Php5 thereafter, cars/SUV – Php45 for 2 hours plus Php10 for the succeeding hours, passenger bus/coaster – Php60 for the first 2 hours plus Php20 for the succeeding hours, mini-bus/tourist bus – Php150 for the first 2 hours plus Php30 for the succeeding hours.
Moreover, for video and photography sessions intended for commercial use or shall be using professional equipment other than phones, point-and-shoot cameras, digital Single Lens Reflect (SLR) camera with basic lense and attachments, handy cameras, a separate fee of P5,000 exclusive of entrance fee will be collected.
In total, Bohol has 16 protected areas, where this payment scheme is implemented.
These include Rajah Sikatuna Protected Landscape, Talibon Group of Islands Protected Landscape and Seascape, Chocolate Hills Natural Monument, Alburquerque-Loay-Loboc Protected Landscape/Seascape, Panglao Island Protected Seascape, Loboc Watershed Forest Reserve, Alejawan-Cansuhay-Anibongan River Watershed Forest Reserve, Tubigon Group of Islands Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserve/Wilderness Area, Clarin Group of Islands Wilderness Area, Calape Group of Islands Mangrove Swamp, Forest Reserve and Wilderness Area, Cabilao Sandingan Islands, Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserve, Candijay-Anda-Mabini Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserve and Wilderness Area, Inabanga Wilderness Area and Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserve, President Carlos P. Garcia Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserve, Getafe Group of Islands Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserve/Wilderness Area and Ubay Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserve.
Rajah Sikatuna Protected Landscape and Chocolate Hills Natural Monument had already implemented the mandatory entrance and parking fees last year, ahead of all other sites.
Prior to this, a public hearing on the matter was conducted, as required by law.
The public hearing was participated in by PAMB, a composite group of non-government and government representatives and public officials.
A tarpaulin posted at the said areas stated that effective October 1, 2019 PAMB will implement Department Admin Order No. 2016-24 otherwise known as the Revised Rates of Fees for Entrance and Use of Facilities and Resources in Protected areas in the country.
PENRO Charlie Fabre explained that PAMB has just implemented the overdue national law.
The said DAO that amended DAO No. 1993-47 signed by then Environment Secretary Gina Lopez was adopted by PAMB for implementation.
Fabre said the protected area management fund will be used for the improvement of facilities and other projects at the protected areas.
He then cautioned visitors to make sure the collected fees go to government coffers by asking for an official receipt for proper accounting of proceeds.
“Don’t pay if walay receipt. Dili puwede mubayad sa personnel if walay resibo,” he said.
Apo Island in Negros Oriental, also supervised by PAMB has a collection of P15 million a year, the state environment office revealed.
In Bohol, less than P2 million is collected every year.