After the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) issued a cease and desist order (CDO) on March 26 against the Iwahig Community Eco-Tourism Multi-Purpose Cooperative (ICEMCO), the cooperative is now looking to open a new firefly watching site in the same barangay, outside of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

Michie Meneses, city tourism senior operations and promotions and marketing division chief, said Thursday that ICEMCO has found a new site that is ideal for firefly watching in the same barangay as the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm (IPPF) but outside the BuCor’s jurisdictional control.

“Nakahanap na rin sila sa Iwahig, pero ang site ay labas na sa property ng corrections. Nasa process na sila nang pag-aayos ng mga permits nila,” Meneses told Palawan News.

She said the City Tourism Office (CTO) also needs to assess if its feasible and possible to operate the site before the proposal gets the green light.

Asked where the site is exactly located in Iwahig, Meneses declined to give any information until activities prior to approval have been completed.

Meneses said ICEMCO expects to launch the firefly watching tour before the end of 2019.

“Kaya naniniwala kami kasi ‘yong mga tao na ito they are trained already. Sila rin ‘yong mga tao sa likod ng Iwahig mangrove firefly watching dati. Because of them, the site has been awarded and recognized. Marami siyang awards na natanggap. Aside naman sa destination it is the services of the people that matter,” she said.

In a visit to IPPF on August 5, BuCor director general Nicanor Faeldon said they already have opened the firefly watching tour to new investors who are willing to take charge of the operations.

Meneses said they have heard about this on the news.

She said the CTO under the city government already did its best to help ICEMCO but BuCor had made its decision.

Meneses said the private individual or group that will operate the Iwahig mangrove firefly watching tour has to go through the process to secure permits and licenses.

Melinda Mohamad, division chief of CTO product planning and development department, said this new area is much better than the former site.

Mohamad said ICEMCO still has remaining funds which can sustain some management activities until the new site opens.

“May funds pa naman ’yong kanilang kooperatiba para sa pagaasikaso ng mga permits,” said Mohamad.

Last March 26, through legal division chief Atty. Fredric Anthony E. Santos, BuCor issued a cease and desist order (CDO) against the ICEMCO that operates the tour in the Iwahig river within the land under their jurisdiction causing some 60 members of the cooperative to lose their jobs when BuCor closed the operation of the Iwahig River firefly watching tour.

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