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EMB 10 alarmed on Opol beaches quality


THE Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) 10 has sounded alarm on the high content of fecal matter in Macajalar bay, particularly in the beaches of Opol, Misamis Oriental.

In an interview with this writer, EMB 10 director Reynaldo Digamo said that high fecal coliform content in that part of the bay has remained consistently high for the past five years and has not subsided in the latest test conducted only this year.

“The allowable coliform content as determined by our health authorities is only 50 mg/100 liters. But in the bathing beaches in Opol, the coliform is 1,000 mg/100 liters. That’s as high as before Boracay was rehabilitated in 2018,” Digamo said, referring to the famous island resort in Luzon that was shut down by then President Rodrigo Duterte that year and totally cleaned for seven months before being allowed to reopen.

Digamo said that the rest of Macajalar bay registered a low coliform content including the coastline in Jasaan, Misamis Oriental where EMB personnel caught a wastewater treatment plant ejecting their wastes into the sea and immediately intervened on the matter.

In Opol, Digamo surmised that backyard piggeries from upland residents are causing the unusually high fecal content of the shore.

“It must be the local government nga mangusog ana. They are the ones who have the direct power to police their own constituents,” he said.

Opol, the nearest town west of the regional capital Cagayan de Oro, is home to dozens of beaches where domestic and foreign tourists alike flock year long, even on weekdays.

Along this line, Digamo is calling on the municipal government of Opol led by Mayor Jay Francis Bago to institute measures to lower the coliform content in their beaches.

“We have the technical capability to assist them. We as a regional line agency can work hand in hand with the LGU on this matter,” he said.


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