BORACAY Random Notes By Noel Cabobos
We are supposed to be celebrating peace and good tidings but the recent fix (some call it terrible money-making scheme) of the local government of Malay does not really sit well during this yuletide season. Let me tell you why.
On Saturday, December 21, the local government of Malay started to impose the payment of P30 for every person who would be using the pontoon–that plastic floating bridge–now docked at the front beach of Stations 1 & 3. The imposition of the said fee was done on the strength of Executive Order No. 51, series of 2019, which, of course, was issued by Acting Mayor Fromy Bautista purportedly to regulate the operations of water activities on the island.
In that EO, the Acting Mayor specifically requires all water sports and sea sports operators to utilize the centralized pontoon situated along Stations 1 and 3. And he listed the following recreation or activities that are mandated in utilizing the said pontoon: Island Hopping, Helmet Diving, Banana Boat Riding, Scuba Diving, Parasailing, Flyfishing, Jetskiing, Sunset Cruise, and other related water and sea sports activities with the exemption of Paraw (sailboat) operators.
Okay, for clearer understanding of its being anomalous in nature and something which the Ombudsman should look into, let’s take things piece by piece:
THE EXECUTIVE ORDER. The Local Government Code only tells us two (2) things about a mayor’s executive order and to wit: (1) Furnish copies of executive orders issued by him to the provincial governor within seventy-two (72) hours after their issuance (Article 1-Section 444-b-1-XII); and (2) Issue such executive orders as are necessary for the proper enforcement and execution of laws and ordinances (Article 1-Section 444-b-1-III).
Yes, the Mayor or the Acting Mayor, in this case, has the authority to issue executive orders within his executive and administrative powers since EOs are official directives or commands from the local chief executive to agencies in the executive branch. Meaning, these orders generally concern the implementation or enforcement of rules, policies and procedures which have the force of law.
Well, as a general principle, the mayor or the acting mayor being the local chief executive of the municipality has the inherent power to take executive actions as long as those actions do not impinge on the Municipal Council’s legislative powers or the authority to make laws.
Let me emphasize here that the mayor’s exercise of his executive and administrative powers cannot impinge on the legislative powers of the Municipal Council, therefore, as a member of the executive branch of government, a mayor or an acting mayor may not usurp the legislative function by enacting policies not adopted by the legislative branch.
In this case, Acting Mayor Fromy’s EO is very definite in the sense that it is intended to regulate the operations of water activities on the island. But what particular ordinance? He did not cite any because there is no ordinance that says the local government can charge P30 for the use of a pontoon. And besides, was it adopted by the Sanggunian?
THE SANGGUNIANG BAYAN. Why the deafening silence? What happened to the members of the Municipal Council? Was there any deliberation among them regarding this controversial EO? If there’s none, I can no longer wonder why since most of them are just members of the Committee on Silence. Too bad for a body that is mandated by law to approve ordinances and pass resolutions necessary for an efficient and effective municipal government. Really too bad for a body that is supposed to be the one working for the regulations that promote the general welfare of the inhabitants of the municipality.
BIHA THE COLLECTOR. Being one of the subjects in the supposed regulation, how the hell that Boracay Island Hopping Association (BIHA) Cooperative became the collector in this anomalous implementation of collecting P30? What a story of the one being regulated but the same entity which implements it? What powers that designate BIHA to be the local government’s implementing arm? Is it protected by a Memorandum of Agreement of some sort? I’m afraid not, which actually explains why BIHA couldn’t issue an official receipt during its collection. This organization is so screwed. What a pity!
THE PONTOON. Although the pontoon itself is not the main issue here nor the one who owns it, let’s try to recall how pontoon started on Boracay Island to properly establish the very essence why we have pontoons in our midst.
If memory still serves me right, it was during the advent of cruise ships on the island which started in 2012 that the provincial government decided to introduce the use of pontoons to ensure a safer passage of tourists disembarking from these gigantic passenger vessels. From that time on, the pontoons have been the best way for passengers embarking or disembarking on boats to ensure their safety.
And then came the closure. The pontoons again served its purpose as they were temporarily based on Stations 3 and at the BTR on Station 1 to best serve the public at the time where road constructions was at its height.
And then came the opening of Boracay wherein the pontoon from BTR was transferred near D’Mall serving as the passage way for visiting big shots from the national government who came here via private boats or seaplanes.
But why the pontoons are still there? They are supposed to be temporary, isn’t it? Now that we are using the designated ports at Cagban and Tambisaan for the one-entry-one-exit policy of the provincial government in order to preserve the long white beach of Boracay Island, why continue the use of pontoons at Stations 3 & 1? And besides, is it fair to free Station 2 while the other stations are teeming with seacrafts? What is the essence of the one-entry-one-exit policy then? Are those resorts and establishments at Stations 3 & 1 second-rate and don’t deserve the same policy that the government affords at Station 2?
This is really something that the Task Force should really consider looking into because, if not, it would render their efforts good-for-nothing just like the current local government which thrives on nepotism and favoritism, the ills that have been hounding the island for decades now.
THEN THE IDIOTS CAME. The moneymaking schemers–spelled idiots–whom we have now in the local government of Malay, with their twisted line of making money, actually got a cue from the provincial government which earlier managed to collect P10 for the use of the pontoon in the guise of its much needed maintenance. The collection, however, did not continue perhaps after realizing the illegality of the measure.
That cue that the pontoon can be another “source of income” then paved the way for the drafting of the EO and then the collection of that P30.
By the way, how is the sharing system going on? How much is for who? And who are the other parties whose gonna take the other pie? Merry Christmas and may God bless your souls!