Mayor Assures PAMB Office To Address Carrying Capacity Of Apo Island

Mayor Glenson Alanano of Zamboanguita, Negros Oriental said establishing an office for the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) would help determine the carrying capacity of the world-famous dive destination Apo Island.

The proposed PAMB Office will be at Malatapay in Barangay Maluay, Zamboanguita, which the mayor described as the ?gateway to Apo Island? considering its proximity.

Alanano told reporters over the weekend that right now, there are plans for a public-private partnership (PPP) to construct a terminal in Malatapay.

However, due to tedious paperwork and other requirements, the local chief executive said the project might commence by the end of this year.

Establishing a PAMB Office in Malatapay for the Apo Island Protected Landscape and Seascape has long been deliberated by stakeholders as a means to address the growing problem on the island?s carrying capacity.

The absence of proper procedures to regulate and control the influx of tourists to Apo Island has caused worry to island officials, villagers and other stakeholders.

Apo Island is a famed dive destination as well as a sanctuary for endangered sea turtles.

According to Efren Rombaoa, the Protected Area Supervisor (PASU) of Apo Island and concurrent Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) chief, there is no specific data on the number of tourists that daily visit the island.

Rombaoa said a 2008 study was not finished to determine the carrying capacity of Apo Island. He hopes that some environmental groups will undertake a new study to help protect the island.

The CENRO chief said a PAMB Office at Malatapay could help establish the allowed number of visitors to preserve and protect Apo Island.

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