Davide agrees to make Daanbantayan mayor co-chairman of Task Force Monad

Gov. Hilario Davide III agreed to the request of Daanbantayan Mayor Vicente Loot to become the co-chairman of the inter-agency task force created to assess the damage and oversee the rehabilitation of the Monad Shoal.

“I’m not comfortable that someone is doing the job that I am supposed to be doing. So, I am offering myself to the governor to become the co-chairman of the inter-agency task force,” said Loot after a courtesy call to Gov. Hilario Davide III yesterday.

Davide granted the request of Loot and said that it is just right for Daanbantayan to become one of the leading entities of the task force since the shoal is within its jurisdiction.

“From the start, I wanted the involvement of the government of Daanbantayan. In my Executive Order (No.5), Daanbantayan is included in the task force. The duty of the province here is just to facilitate,” Davide said.

Last June 13, the MV Belle Rose ran aground in the waters of Daanbantayan, four nautical miles southeast off Malapascua island.

Baltazar Tribunalo Jr., who is the interim head of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources (PENRO) and the current chairman of the task force, welcomed Loot’s appointment.

“It is good that the mayor acknowledged the importance of his initiative to co-chair, I’m also thankful of the approval of the governor. It’s a sign that we are transparent on the process for the rehabilitation,” Tribunalo said.

The multi-agency task force met yesterday to consolidate their findings on how to implement the rehabilitation of the shoal and the socio-economic plans particularly for those affected fishermen.

The group is composed of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) 7, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) 7, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7, the local government of Daanbantayan, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), the PENRO and the Provincial Legal Office.

A compromised agreement was reached last July 1 between the owner of the Panamanian-registered cargo vessel, and the provincial government, including other entities that suffered damage.

According to the ship’s lawyer Pedrito Faytaren Jr., the company has agreed to pay $1.5 million for the rehabilitation of the shoal where nearly half a kilometer of coral reefs was damaged.

There are some aspects of the compromised agreement, however, that need to be ironed out further, Faytaren Jr. said.

Tomorrow, the task force will proceed to Malapascua for the presentation of the rehabilitation plans to the officials and locals of the island.( Kelvin Cañizares with reports from Cris Lani de los Reyes)