Councilor Ventura seeks ban on extraction, sale of beach pebbles in Puerto Princesa

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A city councilor here is seeking to regulate the extraction, collection, and selling of beach pebbles and other similar aggregates to prevent beach erosion.

Councilor Roy Gregorio Ventura said the ordinance that he filed Monday at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan targets to impose fines of PHP2,500 to PHP5,000 and imprisonment on violators once it is approved.

“This measure is for everyone, even the foreigners who take large pebbles as souvenirs from our beaches,” Ventura said Monday.

A beach pebble is a constituent fragment of a clastic rock that is used indoors and outdoors for a variety of purposes such as decorative elements in landscaping, walkway and driveway covers, water-smart gardens, bookends, paperweights, and others, he said.

“Just because there is no serious loss right now does not mean we should not regulate. As early as now, we should already hold the collection and sale in check to prevent beach erosion,” he said, claiming pebbles have armoring characteristics on beaches that avert their ruin.

He stated that his proposed ordinance is anchored on Section 1, Article 35 of Ordinance No. 559, otherwise known as the “Administrative Code of the City of Puerto Princesa,” that sets the policy to develop the city as “World Class Eco-Tourism Destination” through environmental protection and conservation.

“Collection and extraction within our jurisdiction pose potential detrimental environmental impacts, like beach erosion and a drop in diversity,” he said.

Ventura said resorts, hotels, and other business establishments that would violate in the future, shall also be fined PHP5,000 and shall face cancellation of business permit and operation for one year, or both at the discretion of the court.

“Aside from the penalties, the sand, pebbles or other similar resources collected shall be returned to the beach where they were taken and on their expense,” Ventura added.

His proposed measure has been referred to the Sangguniang Panlungsod’s Committee on Environment chaired by Councilor Jonjie Rodriguez. (PNA)