MANILA - The government is banning tourists and locals from swimming along the some beaches in Panglao, Bohol and in El Nido, Palawan due to "very high" levels of coliform, Tourism Sec. Berna Romulo-Puyat said Friday.
The Alona Beach registered a coliform count of 16,000 most probable number (mpn), while the Buena Suerte Beach had 1,300 mpn, Puyat said in an interview on DZMM.
The normal water quality for beaches is 100 mpn, while swimming pools usually have 400 mpn.
"Dapat ipinatutupad na ni mayor na wala ng swimming kasi it's not good for the health of the tourists," Puyat said.
(The mayor should have implemented the no swimming policy because it's not good for the health of the tourists.)
"Sa social media, isa lang ang magpost na nagkasakit siya, masisira na yung tourist industry," she said.
(If one person will claim on social media that he fell ill because of that, our entire tourism industry will be affected.)
Puyat did not mention when the ban on swimming in the 2 popular beaches would be lifted, but said that the Environment Department is conducting water quality checks every 15 days.
In April, the government closed Boracay Island to tourists for 6 months to clean its waters that have become "cesspools."
El Nido and Panglao will not be entirely closed for rehabilitation since the islands have several beaches, Puyat said.
"Sinabihan na namin ang mayor doon na maglagay na siya ng sign, sana makinig siya," the Tourism chief said.
(We already told the mayor to put up no swimming signages, I hope she listens.)
"Kung napakatigas ng ulo, sana wag na nila kami i-force na isara," she said.
(If they are too stubborn, the national government might be forced to implement a total closure.)