Map of Macajalar Bay.

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Opol municipal government in Misamis Oriental province vowed Wednesday to check on poultry and hog raisers near coastal villages to address the increasing rate of fecal coliforms at the Macajalar Bay.

Opol Mayor Jay Bago raised the issue after a report from the Environment Management Bureau Region 10 (EMB-10) showed that the bay facing the town has reached an alarming level of fecal coliforms with 1,000 most probable number (mpn) per 100 milliliters.

The standard coliform level for coastal waters which is deemed safe for swimming and other recreational activities is at only 100 mpn/100ml.

"Aside from piggery that was identified by EMB-10 as a contributory factor, other aspects that contribute to the possible rising of fecal coliform are poultry raisers, domestic waste, and restaurants near shorelines," Bago said in an interview.

Bago said it was the reason why he asked the municipal council to review last year's ordinances related to the management of wastes leading to the coastal waters and implement these as early as possible.

A proposed ordinance banning the establishment and operation of live poultry within the territorial jurisdiction of the municipality remains pending. The measure also requires operators of commercial and agricultural establishments to secure environmental clearance and imposing a penalty for violations.

Opol, having the longest shoreline in Macajalar Bay, is home to several beach resorts.

Bago noted that the town now has only four major piggery farms as many were hit by the African swine fever, while new poultry raisers are not allowed temporarily because of avian influenza.

He also bared that several establishments remain "non-environmental compliant" in the absence of discharge permits from the municipal environment and natural resources office.

"Opol watershed areas has also multiple tributaries from Lanao del Sur and Norte, Bukidnon, and Cotabato which water current will flow to municipal's waterways into Macajalar Bay," Bago said.

Meanwhile, the Army's 58th Infantry Battalion (58IB) has assisted three people's organizations (POs) whose members are former communist rebel sympathizers in Jasaan town, also in this province, to be a recipient of the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

In a statement Wednesday, the 58IB said it has partnered with the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Region 10 (DSWD-10)  to enable the three POs to receive PHP30,000 worth of livelihood development fund.

Arthur Barrero, the DSWD-SLP focal person, said the recipient POs are from Barangay I.S. Cruz, Barangay San Nicolas, and Barangay Natubo.

The 58OB said the "activity not only enables these communities to access much-needed support but also fosters trust and collaboration between the government and its constituents." (PNA)