Pujada Bay’s ‘beauty and cleanliness surprise foreign validators

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MATI CITY, Davao Oriental — The two foreign validators for the Most Beautiful Bays in the World (MBBW) Club were astounded at the beauty of the Pujada Bay here, as they conducted ground validation on the possible inclusion of the bay to the MBBW.

MBBW founder and manager Bruno Bodard and MBBW treasurer Guy Ettiene Rousset arrived on Wednesday for the validation, and have already visited several areas in the city. “We have been surprised with what we discovered. It is much beautiful and clean than we expected,” Bodard said in a press briefing on Saturday, adding “the bays are remarkably clean.”

Rousset lauded the city government for their efforts in keeping the island clean.

“We were surprised how clean the bays are. One of our thrusts is to recommend to them on how to take care of their island but I guess they have done their job right,” Rousset added. Asked on the result of their evaluation and the chances of the inclusion on the Pujada Bay to the prestigious list, Bodard and Rousset said they will have to refrain from giving any answer to that since the decision would come from the board and not just from one person.

Bodard explained they have several Vice Presidents representing several continents in the world that would cast their vote whether to accept or deny the application. Bodard said as validators they will come up with a report and submit the same to the board before casting their votes.

“After our consultations with other officers and after we cast our votes, it would take us two months before giving the result. However, all I can say is that the bays are very nice, clean and beautiful,” he added.

As part of the criteria for considering Pujada Bay, the validators said they are looking at three things which include its recognition on the national level certifying that it is actually a beautiful place, it must have a local environmental protection program, and must have worked on international networks.

“We also consider the biodiversity of the area and we want to instill to the young generation the importance of protecting the area,” Rousset said. If given the chance to be included the prestigious list, Bodard said the Pujada Bay will have the chance to be promoted internationally as it already carries the logo of the MBBW.

“We can help through promotion and we can entice more tourists to come in your city. Apart from that, it will also be a weapon to protect the island and be recognized,” he said. Hence, Mayor Michelle Rabat is hopeful for the approval of their application and become part of MBBW list.

Rabat thanked the validators for visiting the city and commending on the potentials of the bay. “Apart from boosting our tourism, we wish to be accepted so that we can give alternative jobs to our small fisherfolk,” she added.

To maintain the cleanliness of the bay, the city government vowed to implement a master plan for proper sewage disposal. Rabat said that they will be putting up sewage  treatment plants to ensure that wastes from households going out to Pujada Bay are treated and cleaned before they are dumped in the bay.

“I have coordinated with various officials to make sure that all canals that lead to the bay will have a catchment basin,” she said. She also added that given those plastics and pollution as an existing global problem, they too have initiated measures to provide solutions and protect not only Pujada Bay but also other major bays in the city.

“Here in Mati, all leads to the bay. We have to make sure that all water leading to the bay be treated and recycled,” she added. Rabat assured that they will be providing catchment basins to ensure that no plastics and other garbage would reach the bay.

The Davao Oriental team presented the Pujada Bay application to join the club during the MBBW Congress in Japan last October. Philippines is among the 26-member countries of the club, with Puerto Galera Bay as the lone bay in the country included in the official MBBW list. 

The Pujada Bay Landscape and Seascape was declared as a protected area under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) through Presidential Proclamation 431.

It covers about 20,0887 hectares of protected landscapes and seascapes.-Che Palicte

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