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Barangay Carmen council pushes for fee collection to protect Panigan River

THE BARANGAY council of Carmen, Baguio District endorsed a resolution to the Sangguniang Panlungsod to impose a fee on visitors and swimmers in the protected Panigan River.

Resolution No. 002, approved without objection by the barangay officials, states that the collected fees will be added to the barangay emergency fund to be utilized for the river’s preservation.

The barangay proposes to collect a parking space fee, vendors fee, and environmental fee. 

The council stressed the need to impose such fees following the viral photo on social media showing an influx of people who spent their Christmas and New Year in the area and improperly disposed of their garbage in the river.

According to the inspection and verification report of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) on Jan. 9, there were about 2,000 tourists and residents occupying the area. Owners of makeshift cottages that charged P150 per table have been found to have no business permits.

The area is within the Panigan-Tamugan Watershed and is located upstream of the Davao City Bulk Water Supply.

Cenro recommended that operations of rental cottages be stopped immediately to protect the bulk water supply project, and it violates Section 11 (j), Rule IV of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Watershed, Protection, Conservation and Management Ordinance of the city.

The item was first read during the 20th City Council’s 3rd regular session on Jan. 25 and was referred to the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

Councilor Temujin Ocampo, committee on environment chair, said he sympathizes with the barangay council. However, he doesn’t believe imposing a fee will address the issue but stricter rules for entry may.

Ang ginalikayan pud nato ana, tungod kay naay environmental fee anybody can pay, bisan P100 pa, tungod kay nindot ang lugar kaya ka mobayad pero pag-abot sa panahon, modaghan napud ang tao, basin di napud makaya ang bulhot sa mga tao,” Ocampo told the media.

He said the fees are only a backup fund for the barangay to assist them in ensuring the cleanliness of the river, but cleanliness remains the people’s responsibility.

“If you really care for the environment, whether you pay or not, you really clean your trash,” he added.

Ocampo said they would look into the possibility of making the area a business enterprise of the barangay noting some merchants already applied for a business permit but were denied by the Davao City Watershed Council. 

The official said they will schedule an ocular visit and discuss the proposal in their next committee hearing.


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