THE Provincial Government will construct a viewing deck and a briefing area for tourists who want to see the whale sharks in Oslob, a town 117 kilometers south of Cebu City.

Mayor Ronald Guaren also denied yesterday reports (not in Sun.Star Cebu) that there were whale sharks wounded by a spear and a propeller of a motorized banca.

“Usahay maghimo gyud na sila ug storya. (Sometimes people tend to make up stories),” he said, adding he verified the reported incidents.

Guaren met with Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia last Monday and discussed how the Province can further help the town. A viewing deck and several comfort rooms, he said, will greatly help them.

The mayor said seeing whale sharks, sometimes as close as 30 meters from the shore, is not new in his town. But the attraction began to draw local and foreign tourists after a diver who visited Oslob posted a video of the whale sharks on YouTube.

Tourist arrivals reached the 1,000-mark last Sunday.

Guaren met yesterday with 30-40 fishermen accredited to feed the whale sharks and lead the tours. He briefed them about the municipal ordinance that prohibits killing and hurting these whale sharks.

Also in his meeting with Garcia, he said, a technical working group was formed to further study and assess their ordinance so that it can be applied to the whole province.

Provincial Board (PB) members representing the second district of Cebu, where Oslob belongs, are automatic members of the TWG. They are PB Members Peter John Calderon and Wilfredo Caminero.

In Oslob, killing or hurting a whale shark is punished by imprisonment of not less than four months.

“That ordinance will be applicable to the entire Cebu, not limited to our town,” Guaren said.

Provincial Engineer Eulogio Pelayre said he will conduct an ocular inspection tomorrow and will estimate how much the new infrastructure will cost, after it is designed.

The mayor said the waters of Barangay Tan-awan have become a habitat of these whale sharks, similar to Donsol, Sorsogon, which is also known for sightings of whale sharks.

Source: Sunstar