NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
It will not be long before the strict imposition and collection of the entrance/user’s fee of the mono-plant man-made forest between the towns of Loboc and Bilar will soon be enforced.
In an ambush interview, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Ariel Rica at the Capitol on Tuesday said the user’s fee of P30/person entering the man-made forest will be carried out as mandated by law.
But it will not be undertaken if no ample place or facility, wherein visitors who may make a stop-over in the forest, will be provided to make the collection, he said.
The said facility that would be located in the forest will have complete amenities or service comfort rooms and importantly the facility should provide space for car parking for the safety of the visitors, Rica said.
He added that the collected from the user’s fee will be shared by the national government (25%) and 75% for the maintenance and operation of the protected area’s facilities.
A proportionate fund from the entrance fees collection would be set aside for protecting, maintaining and enhancing the natural attraction of the protected area pursuant to DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2016-24, which provides for the revised rates of fees for entrance and use of the facilities and resources.
Under the same DAO, a minimum of P30/per visitor and P100/per foreigner shall be collected. Students at P15.00, while senior citizens, persons with disabilities (PWD) and children below 7 years old and indigenous people are exempted from paying.
A protected area shall establish a trust fund, known as an integrated protected area fund for purposes of financing the projects and sustaining the operation of the area based on the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) (RA 7586), as amended by expanded NIPAS Act of 2018 or RA 11038.
It was learned that DENR is still collecting these entrance fees in Logarita Spring, Duwangon Spring, and Rajah Sikatuna natural park, all in Bilar town.
The NIPAS Act has identified protected areas in Bohol: the Chocolate Hills Natural Monument, Panglao Island Protected Seascape, Talibon Group of Islands Protected Landscape and Seascape and Rajah Sikatuna Protected Landscape, where the man-made forest is situated. (rvo)