Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Unobstructed Alona beaches 
greet Bohol ASEAN delegates 

TAGBILARAN CITY, April 19 (PIA)--Delegates to the trade meetings of the Association of South East Asian Nations at the Hennan Resort in Panglao arrive at gorgeous sight mostly new to Boholanos and some national guests. 

Then a view seldom fully appreciated due to the obstruction caused by disorganized boat parking, dangerous swimming area due to indiscriminate dropping of boat anchors and crisscrossing dive boats, the more than a kilometer stretch of the gorgeous white fine sand beach of Alona is finally cleared of the hazards. 

A stretch of beach accordingly got its name from the starlet Alona Alegre, who, with another Filipino movie icon Fernando Poe Jr., starred the 1978 film Esteban. 

In one of the movie scenes, Alona Alegre would frolic in the pristine sand before marauders lad by Max Alvarado would run to capture her. 

The chase scene would then introduce the gorgeous beach to national and international audiences.

The shooting would accordingly take days and during the entire duration, residents of Tawala in Panglao would troop to the beach to see the shooting.

When asked where they are going, people would accordingly respond: to see Alona, thus the name stuck to the beach. 

Now a home to some of the best beach resorts in Bohol, Alona has lately seen the proliferation of dive boats and island hopping ferry boats anchoring just right in the beach front, obstructing the gorgeous sunset and the splendid blue horizon. 

Recently however, the local government unit of Panglao, the beach resorts and the Philippine Coast Guard partnered to clean up the beach front, according to Tagbilaran District Commander Lieutenant Junior Grade Jimmy Berbo. 

Along this, citing Headquarters of the Philippine Coast Guard Memorandum Circular 03-14 dated April 2014, the government asserts safety of beaches in front of resorts. 

The MC ruled out that resort owners must put up adequate number of buoys attached with a safety net to be spread in an area where there is an abrupt change in depth, and if there are none, the same buoys shall designate the boundaries for safe swimming. 

Moreover, for safety purposes, in thses designated areas, no boats, bancas or other crafts are allowed to enter. 

The policy however remains unimplemented until recently, Lt. Berbo shared. 

While the memorandum also allows the resort owners to designate a portion of the beachfront for loading and unloading resort guests, the LGU under Mayor Leonila Montero has designated a single pick up and drop off station for guests on to dolphin and whale watching tours, dive tours as well as for island hopping tours, Coast Guard sources revealed. 

The Coast Guard said the new pick up and drop off station for boats is the municipal port behind the Panglao Church Complex, and authorities have started to implement the changes recently.

The disappearance of the eyesores in Alona beach elated observers who agreed, having boats in front of the resorts is waiting for an accident to happen. 

As of the second week of April, the beach fronts started to be cleaned of boats, while the town also caused the tables set up by resorts near the beaches moved, following the policies on public access. 

When these changes would allow the ASEAN guests to marvel at the beaches, police regional director PCSupt Noli Taliño has said they would implement a no-sail, no-flight zone in front of Hennan Resort. 

This is for the safety of ASEAN guests having their meetings at Henan from April 18-21.

General Taliño said they would coordinate with the PCG, Maritime Police and the Philippine Navy to put up the demarcation lines to mark the no sail zones and guard it. 

Meanwhile, the Philippine Air Force would monitor compliance of the no-flights over Hennan and hail any pilot who breaks the command. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)
500 yards, boats are now banned to dock here, an area that used to be crowded by dive and tour boats, as the government implements beach safety along Bohol showcase window of its world class beaches. (foto by Ric Obedencio) 

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