SECTION 1 – TITLE – This Ordinance shall be known as the “Aquatic Tourism Sites Ordinance of 2020”.
SECTION 2 – Definition of Terms – For purpose of this Ordinance, the following terms/phrase shall mean:
a. Aquatic Tourism Site – Any site declared as a tourism destination in all designated coastal waters, reefs and tidal areas within the administrative boundaries of the Municipality of San Esteban, Ilocos Sur where some sort of coastal resource management, regulation, control and enforcement will be formulated and applied to facilitate its protection and sustainable use.
b. Eco-tourism – Eco-tourism is a form of tourism involving visiting fragile, pristine, and relatively undisturbed natural areas, intended as a low-impact and often small-scale alternative to standard commercial mass tourism. Ecotourism is now defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education”. As an eco-tourism location a choice is made to respect and protect nature instead of developing and destroy it.
c. Sanctuary – shall mean all designated coastal waters, reefs and tidal areas within the administrative boundaries of the Municipality of San Esteban, Ilocos Sur where some form of coastal resource management, regulation, control and enforcement will be formulated and applied to facilitate its protection and sustainable use.
d. Destructive Activities – Shall mean those activities, performed by both the municipality and the barangays, that cause damage or destruction to the marine life, seashore habitat, coral, mangroves, seagrass, and establish facilities within the Marine protected areas.
e. Coral/Fish/Seaweed/Mangrove/Water Quality Survey – Actions taken to survey the coastal waters, reefs, shoreline, and tidal areas for the health and sustainability of the ecosystems.
f. Apatot Fish Sanctuary (Shipwreck) – Established in 2018 under MUNICIPAL ORDINANCE NO. 2018-04 located in Barangay Apatot.
g. Bateria Fish Sanctuary – Established in 2007 under MUNICIPAL ORDINANCE NO. 2007-02 then revised in MUNICIPAL ORDINANCE NO. 2018-04 located at Barangay Bateria.
SECTION 3 – Objectives –
- To protect and manage the coastal and fishery resources of the Municipality of San Esteban, Ilocos Sur to ensure their sustainable use, for the enjoyment and benefit of its people.
- To establish the means and sources of funding to enforce, control, and regulate the activities of visitors, tourist, divers, snorkelers, swimmer, boats and other resource users within the aquatic tourism sites.
- To set guidelines that prioritize the health of the coastal waters, reefs, shorelines, and tidal areas within the administrative boundaries of the Municipality of San Esteban, Ilocos Sur.
- To enhance the educational, recreational and economic value of the coastal areas and to improve its potential attraction for sustainable coastal tourism as an important source of livelihood and economic development of the Municipality of San Esteban.
SECTION 4 – ECO-TOURISM RULES AND GUIDELINES FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AN OFFICIAL AQUATIC TOURISM SITE
This is a guideline and summary of the rules and mandatory process of deeming a site ready for tourists. If these sites are not checked according to the guidelines set forward below a site cannot be declared ready for tourism.
• The fishing community of the barangay in which the official aquatic tourism site is to be established must be consulted prior to pre-assessment stage.
• An overall majority vote from members of the barangay council are mandatory on behalf of the community to approve the sanctioned area to be determined an Official Aquatic Tourism site.
• Coral Survey is to be completed to estimate the total coral pre-tourism
• Seaweed survey is to be completed to estimate the total seaweed health and cover
• A fish survey must be completed to estimate the total fish population pre-tourism
• A mangrove and tree cover survey will be conducted
• Water quality analysis will be conducted in the terrestrial and aquatic areas surrounding the tourism location.
• Once the site is assessed then the data will be compiled and reviewed by an Marine Biologist for the health of the site and whether or not it can sustain tourism and continue to be an healthy ecosystem.
Once the site is deemed healthy enough to be an Official Tourism Site the following measures must be taken before tourists can be brought to the area.
• An ordinance must be drafted with the rules and regulations of the site as an tourism location or a Sanctuary.
• Focus Group Discussions must be performed with the members of the community and a plan will be devised on how the site will be accessed and advertised and what alternative livelihoods will grow from the development of that site.
• There must be an increase in the bantay dagat presence there and special forms for the site.
• Tour paths and boat docking locations must be identified that cause the least impact to the ecosystem.
• Any trees/mangroves/or plants that are in the bounds of the sanctuary are protected and must have a permit issued by the MAO to be removed.
• Trainings must be performed on the tourism flow before the site is open for tourists.
Once the Site has been Established
• Buoys must be placed around the Core Zone.
• Monthly monitoring must be performed on the health of the Coral/Seaweed/and Fish.
• At least one tree/coral planting must be planned within a month of establishing the site.
• Any development must pass approval and correspond to the rules and regulations outline by the eco-development plan.
• Bi-annual water testing
SECTION 6 – PERMISSIBLE TOURISM MARINE AND RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES. Only snorkeling and diving activities for sightseeing and/or viewing purposes shall be permissible within the perimeter identified as aquatic tourism sites. All other forms of fishing methods of marine species capture, and utilization of the Marine protected areas are strictly prohibited.
SECTION 7 – PENALTIES – Violation of any or all of the foregoing provisions of this Ordinance by the municipal and barangay officials and employees shall be subject to a fine of P2,500 for every violation. Outright impounding of the fishing vessel and fishing paraphernalia used and confiscation of their fish catch and/or marine products collected shall likewise be made.
SECTION 8 – JOINT ORDINANCE CLAUSE – MUNICIPAL ORDINANCE NO. 2018-04 WILL STILL UPHOLD THE RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR THE APATOT FISH SANCTUARY AND THE BATERIA FISH SANCTUARY.
SECTION 9 – SEPARABILITY CLAUSE – If, or any reason/s any part of any provision of this Ordinance shall be held unconstitutional or invalid, other parts of the provisions hereof are not affected thereby shall continue to be full force and in effect.
EFFECTIVITY – This Ordinance shall take effect upon its approval and proper publication.