BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Following the re-opening of Boracay for tourists, Mayor Marvin Malacon said yesterday that the kilometer-long mangrove eco-trail in Brgy. Tomongtong, EB Magalona, Negros Occidental, will open within this month, but only for Saraviahanons.
Malacon, who went biking yesterday to the coastal barangay of Tomongtong in EB Magalona, said that non-residents of the town are still barred from entering the mangrove eco-trail, in connection with the COVID-19 campaign.
Among the five local government units of the 3rd district, EB Magalona has the lowest number of COVID-19 positive cases compared to the cities of Talisay and Silay, Victorias as well as Murcia town, records of the Department of Health –Region 6 showed.
The mangrove eco-trail is a makeshift bridge made of bamboo covered with a vast array of mangroves as high as 20 feet. The bridge extends to the shoreline and also has a makeshift bamboo tower where visitors can have a view of the mangrove plantation and fishponds.
Malacon also ordered the barangay officials of Tomongtong and tanods to be strict over the entry of visitors, especially those coming from Bacolod City, which already has more than 4,000 COVID-19 positive cases.
Brgy.Tomongtong is also home to migratory birds and wild ducks, with the mangroves serving as their refuge area and also protect the coastline from tides and storms.
The mangroves, serving as a marine life sanctuary and a breeding ground, were planted as early as 1991 and the forest has now expanded to 20 hectares.
Malacon said they are also intensifying the campaign against illegal fishing within the territorial waters of EB Magalona, which is now abundant, not only with blue crabs but also tuna fish.*