The Coastal Fishing and Marine Environment Protection, a Sub-Committee of the Regional Law Enforcement Committee drafted guidelines for the operation of the floating cottages, locally known as “balsa” in the waters of Misamis Oriental province.

The Port Management Office of Misamis Oriental/Cagayan de Oro (PMO MO/C), along with the DENR, MARINA-X, PCG, DILG, DOT, NEDA, BOC, DENR-EMB, and DOJ as members of the said Sub-Committee spearheaded by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), endeavor to address the concern on the environmental impacts or the possible damage to marine habitat of the proliferation of floating cottages and other floating structures in the municipal waters and to establish formal regulations thereof. The balsas have recently become a popular tourist attraction around the Province.

The draft guidelines outlined the specific requirements for the establishment of balsa operations. The Committee agency-members proposed inclusion of related rules and regulations within the jurisdiction of their respective offices. The PMO MO/C recommended to ensure that floating cottages operating in the municipal waters will not enter the Port Zone  Delineation (PZD) or the waters within the jurisdiction of the PMO ports e.g Opol Port,  in  reference to Section 83 of the General Port Regulations states that, “No person shall fish or bathe in any pier, wharf or quay or any premises of the Authority.” Furthermore, the PMO emphasized that these floating structures must not obstruct the entry and exit passages of vessels calling in ports.

The Sub-Committee is currently finalizing the said guidelines.