Butanding handlers cry foul over limits

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Butanding watching in Oslob, Cebu. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Local tourism workers and operators of the internationally renowned whale-shark (butanding) watching in the town of Oslob, Cebu have complained about the new sharing and limitation scheme being implemented as it allegedly favors city-based tour operators and guides.

This was admitted by Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, who chairs the Provincial Tourism Council.

The new regulations and schemes address the environmental issues confronting the tourism industry.

As agreed among stakeholders which include officials of both barangay Tanawan and the town of Oslob, the Department of Tourism (DoT) Region 7 and tour operators, the tourism destination will implement a carrying capacity limit of only about 800 tourists daily, whereas over 1,000 were accommodated before.

Of the 800, 600 will be from the boat operators,100 from the local government unit and 100 from the locals or walk-in guests.

Magpale found the complaint “valid” and ordered that a “status quo” be maintained.

The concerns were also raised by Oslob Mayor Jose Tumulak Jr. to Gov. Hilario Davide III.

DoT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat is set to visit Oslob this week or the first week of December to investigate the complaints raised by the local tour handlers.

President Rodrigo Duterte had ordered the DoT to check the welfare of the whale sharks and assess if the tourism activities have no negative impact on the environment.

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