PUMPBOAT operators in Cebu Province which offer tourism services can now operate again following an agreement between Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and officials of the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) Central Visayas as part of the Province’s initiative to revive local tourism.
Garcia made the announcement during a press briefer at the Capitol on July 23, 2020.
Garcia said it was agreed during her meeting with Marina 7 officials that pumpboat operators living in the Province can resume operations even if their licenses have already expired.
But pumpboat operators must secure their licenses immediately as Marina can only allow them to operate unlicensed until November 15 this year.
Garcia said she wanted pumpboat operators to reoperate again so that their livelihoods will be restored after it was affected for three months because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Boat operators such as those in Moalboal are expected to benefit from the development.
Local officials in Moalboal reported to the Province that around 61 of its boat operators which cater to scuba divers and other tourists were greatly affected because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Aside from those in Moalboal, pumpboat operators in Cebu earn their keep by offering different activities to tourists such as diving, snorkeling, island hopping and whale watching activities.
Garcia said pumpboat operators will be essential to tourism services in some towns in Cebu especially that local tourism in the Province is set to be relaunched now that most of its localities are now under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) status.
“I thank Marina 7 for extending the renewal of the licenses for pumpboat operators until November 15. That means our pumpboat operators still have three and a half months left starting August to comply with their requirements, and at the same time catch up with their losses,” Garcia said.
Garcia also ordered the Coast Guard, local police assigned in Cebu’s towns and cities and even local officials to check if pumpboat operators have the equipment needed to ensure that tourists who will avail of their services are safe from Covid-19.
This includes their capability to disinfect their vessels before and after these are used by tourists. (ANV)