Pinatubo lake ‘not a playground’-A A +A
Sunday, January 6, 2013
MABALACAT CITY - The Department of Tourism (DOT) in Central Luzon warned tourists going to Mount Pinatubo to take precautionary measures to prevent any untoward incidents.
The warning came following the reported death of a tourist identified as Lito Julao, 44, of Barangay San Joaquin here who drowned at the lake on January 2 at the vicinity of a resort owned and managed by a Korean firm.
“The serene yet crystal blue lake [at the crater of Mt. Pinatubo] is meant to be a glorious and majestic vista to behold only to be charmed by its natural beauty; never to be treated like a resort playground for swimming, kayaking or aqua cycling,” said the DOT in its travel advisory issued recently.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has also warned that the Pinatubo crater lake water that contains hazardous substances such as arsenic (As), aluminum (Al), boron (BO), chloride (Cl), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), sulphate (SO4) and total solids (TDS) may affect the human health in various ways and may become fatal over an extended period of time.
“Tourists are forewarned never to stay close to the lakeshore as this poses a potential threat to one’s life due mainly to frequent occurrences of rock falls and landslides, especially during heavy downpour,” the DOT warning added.
The agency pointed out that any development in the area should be low impact, provide economic benefits, promote environmental protection, provide education to tourists, and encourage the full participation of the local communities as subscribed by Phivolcs in its most recent travel advisory.
After a physically stressful two-hour trek, tourists are advised to lie down and rest for a while and if possible, say a little prayer before the deity of our indigenous brothers in the uplands called Apu Malyari, the DOT stated.
DOT Central Luzon Director Ronnie Tiotuico said he sent a letter to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regarding the incident for proper disposition.
Mount Pinatubo is still under the care of DENR considering that it is officially declared as tourist spot yet.
Former congressman Francis Nepomuceno and incumbent Representative Carmelo Lazatin of Pampanga first district filed in Congress a bill pushing for the declaration of Mount Pinatubo as official tourist destination.
Tiotuico appealed to DENR and local government units in Botalan, Zambales and Capas, Tarlac to regulate the operation of resorts in the area.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on January 07, 2013.