As an initial step to address the current issue on Kwebang Lampas, the Local Government Unit of Pagbilao through the directive of Mayor Shierre Ann Portes-Palicpic summoned representatives of the said popular tourist destination, local government offices and national government agencies to discuss the concern and plan ways to solve it, May 10, 2017 at the Municipal Administrator’s Conference Room.
The issue started when a Facebook post by one Jerna Bangad Arevalo on the page Philippines travel organizers dated April 30, 2017 created a noise on the said social media. Since it has been posted, Arevalo’s viral rant, which she identified was an experience of a “near family member” who originally dubbed the island as “worst beach ever”, has gained 7,300 likes, 3,600 comments (almost all of which are negative) and 7,230 shares as of this writing.
The LGU Pagbilao’s Facebook page, the Municipal Tourism Office’s page and the account of Mayor Palicpic has since been receiving similar or related complaints from various individuals regarding their unfavourable experiences in Kwebang Lampas.
Additionally, the Regional Office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has received a complaint electronic mail from a former guest and passed it on to the LGU. In the said e-mail, the complainant blasted and identified Gemma Raminto, a caretaker of Kwebang Lampas, for showing hostility when he visited the place.
In light of the issue, the LGU held a meeting to discuss the concern and plan the necessary actions to address this. The meeting was presided by Mayor Palicpic and attended by Raminto, officials of Brgy. Ibabang Polo (where the beach is located), representatives of DENR Regional Office, Quezon Provincial Tourism Office, Pagbilao Municipal Tourism Office, Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO), Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO), Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO), Municipal Treasurer’s Office (MTO), Municipal Administrator Ian Palicpic, Coun. Celedonio Dapla and Coun. Apolinar Martinez.
In the meeting, all parties involved have agreed to perform their respective actions to help solve the issue. The MENR Officer and the Sanitary Officer are set to conduct an ocular inspection in the area to determine the best ways to carry out proper waste management. They will also communicate and work with Brgy. Ibabang Polo, particularly its officials, with regards to garbage collection.
Mayor Palicpic suggested the establishment of an organization, if possible a cooperative, for bangkeros (boatmen); the preparation of plan on the standard fare for all boats travelling from and to Kwebang Lampas, and the standard number of persons these boats are allowed to carry; and the designation of parking area for boats arriving in the island. Municipal Administrator Palicpic and the MAO are tasked to perform this. Additionally, boats will be mandated to issue an official receipt to passengers/tourists. It will be done through the mediation of the Municipal Treasurer’s Office.
The MDRRMO and the Emergency Response Team (ERT) will be responsible in educating boatmen about safety measures in the sea. They are also directed to explain to bangkeros the use of life jacket.
Members of the LGU’s Bantay-Dagat are given another function and that is to act as beach resort patrollers.
Raminto, meanwhile, explained her side of the issue, pointing out that some visitors have also shown disrespect towards her and other staff. However, she apologized for what she has said and done that made tourists upset, disappointed and even mad.
The LGU is giving the management of Kwebang Lampas two (2) weeks to apply for a business permit. In the past years, the popular beach resort has not applied for such due to land dispute, being claimed by two parties.
It has been decided and agreed upon that Kwebang Lampas, for the meantime, will take a break from operating and will only reaccept tourists after the LGU Pagbilao, with the consent of other related government offices, has lifted the decision. The temporary halt in its operation will formally start upon the issuance of the “cease and desist order” by the LGU. The resumption of its operation will be announced immediately.
“We are hoping that by the time Kwebang Lampas reopens, it is a much better place,” said Mayor Palicpic.
The LGU, in addition, has strong hopes that on its ‘comeback,’ Kwebang Lampas is no longer the ‘worst beach ever’ but a destination that Pagbilaoins and Quezonians can all be proud of again.
Pagbilao Municipal Hall
Rizal St., Brgy. Sta. Catalina,
Telephone No.: (042) 797-0937
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org [click here]
Philippine National Police
Tel. No.: (042) 797-2854
Bureau of Fire Protection
Tel No.: (042) 797-0932
Tel No.: (042) 797-3092
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