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Expert to fix Phi Phi national park

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: A special adviser will set up his office within Hat Noppharat Thara – Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park to review the national treasure’s policies and developments, as the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) continues to investigate hundreds of millions of baht disappearing during the collection of national park fees over the last three years.

“The goal is reform. I don’t care about the investigation or the results that the DNP will eventually reveal,” said Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a member of the National Reform Council (NRC), who will be taking up his post in Phi Phi within the next three weeks. “The national park covers more than 200,000 rai. However, they only have four officers and two small boats, which is just unbelievable.”

Dr Thon explained that all park entrance fees collected were supposed to be sent to the DNP main office in Bangkok and then redistributed to parks. However, quality proposals have to be submitted to the DNP for development and park management projects for any funds to be allocated.

“So, I will go there and help them write a strong proposal. For example, I will research what areas corals have been damaged in, and include an action plan on what is necessary to protect them,” Dr Thon said. “Phi Phi simply needs more in the way of human resources. There needs to be people in charge of the ticketing system, patrols, prevention efforts, protection efforts and research.”

A two-month, national-level investigation by the DNP launched in May uncovered unnerving discrepancies in the number of visitors to the park and the actual amount of money that could officially be accounted for.

“On May 17, only one day before DNP officers arrived, the amount collected for the Phi Phi National Park entrance fees was recorded at only about 80,000 baht,” Dr Thon said. “However, a day after, the amount became more than a half million baht. During the two-month investigation, June and July, they collected about one million baht on some days.”

As part of the investigation, Chaithat Boonphupantanti, chief of the national park, was transferred to the position of Director of Watershed Conservation. The new park chief was named as Sorayut Tansathian (story here).

Dr Thon has requested that a new national park fee system be implemented throughout Thailand in order to prevent money from disappearing into the hands of corrupt park officers. The system, expected to be in a testing phase by the end of the month, will be similar to that of Thai Thicket Major (story here).

“By doing this, we can ensure that all fees are being collected properly. Also, the DNP can better regulate the number of tourists visiting certain fragile ecosystems in national parks,” said Dr Thon.

“Local national park officers will still be sent out to check that tourists have bought tickets, but will not be permitted to sell tickets.”

— Kongleaphy Keam

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Phuket

Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: ประชาสัมพันธ์ เทศบาลตำบลวิชิต

Hundreds of residents in Phuket’s Wichit subdistrict attended a workshop focused on reducing stress from to the pandemic-induced economic crisis. A psychologist was even on site to help those who had extreme mental stress and a Buddhist monk taught meditation techniques to reduce physiological effects of stress.

The event was planned in response to an online survey conducted by the municipality asking residents about how much stress they were experiencing from the economic climate. They found that some residents had serious stress issues brought on by the pandemic and financial problems, according to Wichit Mayor Kreetha Chotiwichphiphat.

“The loss of income due to the economic crisis brought on by the Covid-19 situation has resulted in some people in the area suffering serious stress, which can lead to serious mental health issues.”

Around 350 people attended the event. The mayor says it was the first step in caring for the residents’ mental health. Local officials plan to hold similar workshops in the future.

“It was a good opportunity for people to realise the importance of mental health and to learn techniques of how to deal with stress, which will help people to maintain their physical health and avoid developing mental health problems.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Phuket

Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter

The Thaiger

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Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | The Thaiger

The Soi Dog Foundation has officially opened its Humane Education Centre, the first of its kind in Thailand dedicated to the welfare of stray animals. The centre, located at the Soi Dog shelter in northern Phuket, forms part of the foundation’s Humane Education program. Rolled out in 2017, the program sees a team visit Thai schools to teach the next generation the basic principles of animal welfare and promote empathetic attitudes towards both owned pets and free-roaming strays.

The program has reached a total of 15,058 students and 861 teachers to date. With a dedicated classroom as well as educational tools and resources now on site at the shelter, Soi Dog will be able to expand the programme and reach an even greater number of young minds.

Co-founder and president of Soi Dog Foundation International John Dalley said, “The cornerstones of what we do – what I believe very firmly are the answers to the stray dog problem throughout Asia – are large-scale sterilisation of stray dogs and cats and education of, particularly, the next generation.

“We see all the time the problems that are being caused through us not respecting the environment and not respecting the other animals with whom we share this planet. That’s why education is so important.”

John also thanked the supporters and donors who made the construction of the centre possible. After cutting the ribbon, the students filed into the brand-new facility for the very first on-site class – a fun and interactive hour of roleplaying, brainstorming and problem solving.

Humane Education Manager Nuttawut “Film” Kumngern. said… “We want to encourage kindness toward animals, especially free-roaming dogs and cats, and teach youngsters to be responsible pet owners. This will sustainably reduce animal cruelty and pet abandonment.”

“We hope to one day see animal welfare incorporated into the curriculum in Thai schools, and our education centre is a great start.”

Soi Dog is ready to welcome school groups from Phuket and other provinces to the centre which can accommodate up to 40 students at any one time. Schools interested in participating are encouraged to email film@soidog.org

Phuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The ThaigerPhuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The Thaiger

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International Schools

Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket

The Thaiger

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Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket | The Thaiger

Chalong police in Phuket say they have yet to start investigating the illegal hiring of foreign teachers at an international school in Rawai, south of the island. Palm House International School allegedly hired foreign teachers illegally in which 2 were arrested by Phuket Immigration police on November 4.

Somkiet Sarasin, the leading investigator of the case, says the 2 Brits were informed that police were processing a charge of working illegally in the country against them, in which both denied the charges. Somkiet says the 2 were released on bail, but did not confirm the amount of bail that was set by the police.

“They are still staying in Thailand. I am not worried. I have their passports. I am not available to explain [any details] because the investigation is still ongoing.”

“This is normal for an investigation when the suspects deny the charge against them. I have to check more information against their claims. This case will probably be concluded next month.”

However, the investigation has yet to begin, with Somkiet saying he has not even questioned the owner of the school, despite his claims the case would be finished next month.

“The investigation into the school will take time. The investigation into the two British people must be finished first.”

Such allegations of foreign teachers working illegally have recently been in the news after Sarasas Witaed Sainoi Pitiyakarn School, in the central province of Nonthaburi, saw 7 foreign teachers probed for being hired illegally. That school, along with others in its private network, made nationwide news after CCTV caught a Thai teacher hitting, pushing and dragging a young student in the classroom. Such widespread violence against students has long been a sad component of many Thai schools, in which some of the teachers are unqualified and unlicensed to teach, but are hired anyway.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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