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Beach restrictions proposed

Posted on August 18, 2013 11:05:59 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]
DAVAO CITY -- Resort owners in the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte are lobbying for a law that will restrict public access to shorelines in a bid to ensure security.
Araceli L. Ayuste, president of the Samal City’s tourism council, noted that Presidential Decree 1067, or the Water Code of the Philippines, has exposed beach resorts to risks.
Under the law, resort owners are prohibited from building structures on shorelines within 20 meters; violators face a penalty of 10,000.
Resort owners, in raising security concern, cited as example the 2001 bandit attack on Pearl Farm, a resort owned by the Floirendo family.
Samal City, whose nearest tip can be reached by boat from this city in less than 10 minutes, is considered a primary visitor destination in this part of the country.
Ms. Ayuste said the public should only be allowed to use shorelines, which the city government has identified for public use, and not inside resorts.
But Felix T. Alicer, regional director of the Land Management Services of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said that by law, resort owners must allow access to shorelines through their establishments.
“They are even prevented from introducing structures [in the shorelines],” Mr. Alicer said, adding the government has been lax in implementing the law.
He noted that in Samal, resort owners have even cordoned off their areas including the shorelines to prevent locals who refuse to pay entry fees.
Mr. Alicer said that unlike the Samal resort owners, those in Boracay Island in Western Visayas, have complied with the law.
Samal Island hosts over a dozen beach resorts, from inexpensive facilities frequented by local residents, to upscale enclaves such as Anflocor’s Pearl Farm. -- Carmelito Q. Francisco   

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