By Rey Anthony Chiu, PIA-Bohol | 10:58 AM June 06, 2021
Over 21 divers in self-contained underwater diving apparatuses divided the almost two kilometer beachfronts to the depths of Poblacion and Suba in Anda, Bohol as a capping activity for the culmination of the Month of the Ocean (MOO) in May.
Divers from the Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard Special Operations Group, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Bohol Environment Management Office, Local Government Unit of Anda and from the dive resorts here scoured the seas bringing with them onion bags and picked trash that may have covered sea grass beds, floated from the depths or fishing nets and fishing lines entangled in the corals surfacing after an hour.
The collected garbage were later segregated and characterized, the data collected would be useful evidence in future executive or legislative decisions, explained Niko Rey Maiinit, diver and Anda tourism consultant.
A few hours earlier, volunteers organized by the Carood Management Council and LGU Anda towed sacks and surveyed the beach front picking up cellophane and plastic trash, broken glass and improperly disposed garbage as the town’s primer public beach that draws huge crowds of picnickers lay eerily abandoned with the pandemic raging on.
Hosting the culmination program of the Month of the Ocean 2021, Anda also drew environmental groups and non-government organizations helping coastal communities as well as marine protection groups advancing community empowerment towards sustainable protection of coastal ecosystems and communities from the impacts of stronger typhoons brought about by climate change.
“The month of the Ocean culmination is intended to highlight the conservation, protection and sustainable management of Philippine coastal and ocean resources,” summarizes Zoological Society of London (ZSL) in the Philippines site cluster coordinator Joel Erediano.
For Bohol, various government agencies, ocean advocacy and marine conservation groups including the ZSL, German Cooperation (GIZ) and the European Union have been provided the venue to showcase their marine conservation initiatives during the day.
The culmination banners the sub theme “Let Us Regenerate Our Oceans, Let Science Be Our Guide,” jibing with ZSLs Sustainable Coastal Protection through biodiversity conservation in coastal ecosystems affected by typhoons in the Philippines (ProCOAST) projects.
The culmination event also provided a venue for the promotion of science-based marine conservation successes with a gallery put up that features centers of learning and sites for replication and partners went through the gallery walk to learn of leading sites with successful initiatives at coastal and marine protection.
In his message as host municipality, Anda Mayor Metodio Amper pleaded to the government agencies and non-government organizations assistance in implementing applicable environmental laws that could help sustain and conserve the prime tourism asset of the town: its beaches.
Mayor Amper, who finds a strong political opposition in town, has been desperately trying to implement laws, but feels the town would be more successful in its drive if the national government and law enforcement agencies help.
Amper was asking help in implementing, public access zones, wastewater disposal, solid waste management and building code restrictions in resorts and establishments in the town.
In his response, Bohol Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Ariel Rica assured the mayor DENR’s help, and the law enforcement agencies present also aired their assurance of support.
The event ended with a signing of the pledge of commitment and solidarity by stakeholders.
Signing the statement of solidarity and commitment were Mayor Amper for LGU Anda, members of the Carood Council, ProCoast through Erediano, GIZ, BIDEF through Francis Batoy, PROCESS Bohol through Aurelio Salgados Jr., PENRO Rica, CENRO Talibon Elpidio Palaca, BISU Candijay, BEMO and Anda resorts representatives. (rahchiu/PIA-7/Bohol)