Dr. Alicia Lustica, Center Head of the Biodiversity, Coastal, Wetlands and Ecotourism Research Center (BCWERC) urged local government units (LGUs) to implement firmly responsible tourism to save and protect tourist destinations in the country. Said statement came after learning that sacks of garbage were collected during the Isla Music Festival in Santa Fe Bantayan Island, northernmost island of Cebu Province last April 12-15, 2017.

Retrieved on the town’s shores after the festival were fifty-(50) sacks of garbage as revealed by local officials. According to Cebu Port Authority’s records, 35,000 foreign and local tourists last year came to the island to spend their Holy Week vacation. Hence, Dr. Lustica informed reporters that the LGUs should be responsible enough in ensuring that their tourism sites remain clean and stated further that strict implementation of solid waste management should be a priority.

Dr. Lustica further suggested that during big events, organizers should conduct massive information drive or brief viewers in advance on proper waste disposable. She emphasized that tourists must be responsible enough and reminded that taking care of the environment is not just the concern of the LGUs, but of everybody.

The forum organized by the Association of Government Information Officers (AGIO) held at the Philippine Information Office in Cebu last April 20, 2017 also discussed the status of mangrove and beach forest in Central Visayas. Dr. Lustica revealed that a total area of 50,000 hectares in the entire Philippines were planted with Mangrove trees by the People’s Organization (POs) and Local Government Units (LGUs), and in the Visayas regions, survival rate percentage are getting well. She noted further, that based on the third party validation conducted on the first quarter of 2016, survival rate in Central Visayas is 71.31 percent for mangrove and 67.85 percent for the beach forest.

Various media outlets and student volunteers attended the AGIO forum hosted by Ms. Amor Saludao of PIA 7 and Ms. Jojo Layas from the Philippine Postal Corp. Said media forum was aired live at DYMR - Radyo ng Bayan-576 Khz from 10:00 am - 11:00 am every Wednesday and delayed telecast at MyTV Channel Sky Cable Ch. 61 at 5:00 pm. BCWERC