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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, March 14, 2018
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PCG to inspect dive boats


The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Negros Oriental has assured that it will deploy personnel to the municipality of Dauin to conduct inspection of dive boats and other watercraft departing for the renowned dive destination, Apo Island.

Lt. Junior Grade Donna Liza Ramacho, the PCG-Negros Oriental chief and Dumaguete Coast Guard Station commander, said yesterday that this is to accommodate the requests of those in the dive and tourism industry and in resorts.

Ramacho said that she issued a directive that all boats going to Apo Island should first seek clearance from, and pass inspection by the Coast Guard sub-station at the Malatapay wharf in Barangay Maluay, Zamboanguita, the town next to Dauin.

The directive was in response to an observation raised by Dauin Mayor Neil Credo that some boats going to Apo Island allegedly did not have the required clearance from the Coast Guard.

Credo’s statement cameafter a freak accident recently where a Chinese national was killed while diving in Apo Island when the propeller of a dive boat hit him in the head.

But dive shops, dive tour operators, and some resorts complained that having to go to Malatapay first for Coast Guard clearance before departing for Apo Island would be a “waste of time” especially for tourists and guests who are paying by the hour.

In the past, before the assignment ofLt. Junior Grade Ramacho in Negros Oriental, the practice was for Coast Guard personnel to go to Dauinto inspect and clear the boats before departure.

Ramacho pointed out that Coast Guard needs to have an “office” in Dauin where its personnel can be stationed.

While arrangements are being made for this with the local government of Dauin, she said they hope that someone will provide a space for even a desk and a “roof” for Coast Guard personnel deployed in Dauin.

A resort and a dive shop operatoradjacent to each other have both made an offer to the Coast Guard for such requirement, but the area is not suitable, because it is near a marine protected sanctuary, Ramacho said.

The Coast Guard commander assured that, in the meantime, her personnel will visit Dauin every morning for the inspection and clearance of the boats so they will no longer have to go to Malatapay in nearby Zamboanguita.*JFP/PNA


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