PANGLAO.- Unlicensed outrigger motorboats moored nearby the almost one kilometer shoreline stretch of Alona white beach of this tourist town has become a big problem for both the businessmen and stake-holders here for sometime.
Â The issue of docking unlicensed motorboats has stirred a Â debate in social media particularly Â on facebook where locals and communities exchange ideas and comments in the hope that law enforcement be carried out and discipline among the stakeholders to keep Alona beach peaceful and clean fit for an ideal tourists’ haven.
Â Among the problems besetting this white beach area are: boats Â running across the beach and harming guests; anchors dumped into the beach with the pointed tip facing upwards; parts of the beach Â blocked by boats and guests canâ€™t walk anymore because they are caught in between obstacles. Guests who want to swim will not be able to do so and if they can manage to sneak through the boats they are in danger of being hit by a propeller or boat body, Holger Horn, a foreigner who does and still doing business here, said in his fb post recently.
But for Barbro Svenssonâ€™s fb post was more blatant in describing, â€œAlona Beach is no Beach anymore itâ€™s more like a harbor.â€
SIMILAR ALONA OBSERVATIONS NOTED
Â Another fb post by Alberto Urgel Redondo Dahab said, â€œIâ€™m a Boholano living in the US. I stopped promoting and talking about Alona and the surrounding beaches because they come back with negative feedback about their experience in Panglao. Why canâ€™t they preserve their beautiful resources like Cancun or Playa del Carmen. MX (Mexico). I stayed away in Panglao beaches. Itâ€™s becoming too crowded and too dirty. Alona will greet you with dirty water/exposed drainage system from some establishment and garbage. Not mentioning the kids begging for money etc. what a shame.â€
Â â€œHabalhabal (unlicensed) or pleasure boats. It is early morning and we need to bring out our divers. But these boats from Balicasag, Danao, Tawala and other areas have nothing better in mind but blocking our entry and exit to the dive operation by parking their boats beside each other at the shoreline,â€Â Horn said.
Â Another foreign national who already resides here Boris Heberer said: â€œMany Foreigners feel with Foreign tourists? There is a lot of complain, you can hear this from your own Guests. Alona is a small stripe of Beach and should fulfill the “dream” of a beach. The worldwide competition is huge and if Panglao want still a piece of this cake action is needed. Why the boats have to park in the shoreline? Its only laziness and a strict load and go will solve the problem. Its not that Foreigner urge to implement law its logic only. A beach should look like a beach and not like a harbour. We face this problem over years, but now it getting worse. And don`t leave anything to god, do it yourself.â€
Â Horn said â€œWe need strong law enforcement especially on Saturday and Sunday. But unfortunately no law enforcement seems to exist especially on weekends. And if one wants to talk to the operator, they are not even there but hiding. High season is also approaching and we cannot afford such misbehavior. Panglao is rising or falling with scuba divers.â€
Â Horn said he is more concerned of the safety of the visitors. â€œBut if these boats are blocking the access to the sea, how on earth will we be able to take care of swimmers, snorkelers, skin divers, free divers and scuba divers, if we are blocked when wanting to provide quick responsesâ€
Â He called the behavior of the boat operators as â€œunacceptable and not only harming our businesses but also potentially harming the safety of our guests,â€ adding that they would a hard time in responding quickly for emergencies to diver who may be suffering from underwater or surface accident.Â
Â Considering the dangers pose by these boats, some tour operators wouldnâ€™t bring their guests to this spot but to other areas in Panglao island comprised of Dauis and Panglao towns. Some operators said they would rather bring their guests to Anda town where the equally luring white beach stretch is located.
Investors who poured millions of money for their respective tourism-related businesses are concerned of their investments.
Â â€œWe arrived at a point were we must speak out and show the authorities what the situation really is all about. We must safeguard our investments by making sure that we cope up with environmental challenges and with challenges, such as these,â€ Horn said.
Â He added, â€œWe promote, we market, we spend big time for collaterals, travel shows, websites, etc. and we sit our asses wound in front of a computer to get customers here. But how do they thank us? By giving us a hard time providing the services we advertise for. They don’t spend any single centabo in order to bring customers here. I’m fed up with it and I will not stop until something seriously is done. And this is not anymore my fight, these are many PADO members I represent as their president.â€
Â Â But Panglao Mayor Nila Montero retorted in her fb post. â€œAnother problem is that everybody thinks both local and foreign investors think that everything they do are right and itâ€™s a free country which has been the problem since the tourism boom in early 20’s. Indeed a problem but due process has been started/done and after that this must be controlled like we did with PADO as our very good partner in the regulation. What do you think of the new business the boat cruise operated by a foreigner with totally no business permit and Marina permit. Everybody seems not to respect and abuses nowadays is very high with garbage and destruction to our environment. What people care is money and not the future. Who helped us? Nobody!â€
Â Dahab said that the local government unit needs to find ways to ease the traffic of these places and prevent more damage of their prospective businesses and tourists. How I wish they could have preserved the beautiful beaches 25 years back when I was living in Bohol.â€
Â The business of swindling also took a toll on the guests. Dahab had this to say: â€œI was a victim of a “deal gone bad” thru these sidewalk operators. It was a good price but there was no boat found when we got there the next day.
These boats has been a hazard and eyesore in the beach. They need to build a terminal pier off the crowded beaches. I STOPPED going to these Beaches because if overcrowding of Panglao. We go to Anda instead. Cleaner and safer. It worth the drive.â€
â€œSo for me the only solution…the municipality should burn their boats if those boat operators will not free the beach of their boat,â€ Jacques Trotin said in post.
Â Another FB post said to cut ropes of the anchors of the boats moored there.
Â Born said, â€œBut fortunately the CRM office under Darwin is very active in order to put a stop to it. What will remain is the question what to do with the illegal settlers.â€
Â Mayor Montero added, â€œWe are so fast with our local ordinances now for higher penalties. Foreigners are controlling the investments in Alona and so frustrating because they supposed to be more educated than the locals and even putting their tables near the waters encroaching and blocking tourists with their displays of frozen seafoods that are odorous and smellyHard headed investors who do not care for us locals who will be left behind with our children in the future when they all moved when Alona die! What a pity.â€Â (rvo)