In Tuesday’s session, April 18, of the Provincial Board of Palawan, Board Member Roseller Pineda proposed to exempt wooden-hulled motorboats used in carrying tourists in various tourism destinations in Palawan from the phase-out circular of the Maritime Industry Administration (MARINA).
Per Pineda, the said tourism-oriented boats can be certified by the Department of Tourism (DOT) regarding their purpose and hence can be exempted from Marina Circular No. 2016-02 series of 2016 which had recommended the phasing out of such kind of sea vehicle for “enhanced ship safety and for safer service.”
In the proposed resolution, which was referred to the Committee on Tourism, BM Pineda is requesting DOT Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo, thru MIMAROPA- DOT Director Danilo Intong, to grant and issue a certification or confirmation to identified emerging tourist destinations in the province for purposes of exemptions to the said circular.
The said circular does allow such an exemption for wooden-hulled ships, and Pineda hopes to avail such provisions for tourism areas in the province.
As stated in MARINA’s memo, ships can be exempted if these are “employed solely and exclusively, whether in daytime or nighttime navigation, in DOT-identified tourist destinations for the purpose of direct transfer to and from a resort/hotel, engaging in scuba diving, dolphin, whale and whale shark watching, island hopping, sports fishing and other similar tourist and sports and recreational activities, and other similar/analogous cases as may be determined by the Administration”.
“Paano ngayon ang mga lugar na hindi pa declared as tourist destination pero ang hanapbuhay ng mga tao ay sa turismo? Sa Palawan iilang munisipyo pa lang naman ang declared as tourist destination. Kawawa ang mga maliliit na mga boat owners,” Pineda said.
According to Pineda his constituents in the island municipalities in northern Palawan is clamoring about the memorandum of Marina because they (people) depend on sea transport like wooden- hulled boats to transport people and goods to the mainland or other island towns of Palawan.
“Ang nangyayari sa ngayon nagtatago sila sa Coastguard para lang may masakyan ang mga tao,” said Pineda.
He specifically mentioned the towns of Linapacan and other areas in the Calamianes Group of Islands.
The Committee on Tourism of the provincial board will invite MARINA personnel to discuss the issue in their upcoming meeting to shed light on the said circular.