Colorum or unregistered motorized bancas particularly those that cater to tourists still operate in Panglao despite previous government efforts to legalize their operations, said the town’s Municipal Tourism Office (MTO).
Based on MTO data, at least 200 motorboats ply routes and ferry tourists at the Alona area in Panglao but only 48 are considered legal and have secured certificates of public convenience from the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA).
Most of the unregistered sea crafts in the town are used by tourists for island-hopping, diving and dolphin watching, said the MARINA in an earlier statement.
According to the MTO, the Panglao local government unit (LGU) has made efforts to hasten the issuance of required documents for registration but still only a few boat operators have moved to secure the requirements.
This has prompted the LGU to appeal to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to order its personnel to conduct patrols and arrests against operators and crew of unregistered sea crafts in Panglao.
However, the PCG had previously said that it will be difficult for its personnel to go after unregistered boats noting that these would only lay low for a while once they conduct patrols.
Last year, the MARINA conducted a mobile registration for unregistered sea crafts in Panglao.
It was carried out in Brgy. Danao of the town to address complaints against rampant operations of unregistered boats which mostly cater to tourists.
MARINA chief Norma Enriquez also admitted late last year that the agency does not have enough manpower to monitor each boat travelling in Bohol seas.
According to Enriquez, the MARINA would be unable to check each of the slew of boats operating in Bohol for registration.
Enriquez singled out the municipality of Panglao where operations of habal-habal or unregistered boats are rampant, noting that the town is one of their main concerns.
The MARINA official noted that unregistered boats do not have insurance, which could lead to more problems in instances of accidents. (A. Doydora)