NORTHERN Mindanao’s first themed water park is now 95 percent complete but it will not be opening its gates to tourists soon because of the “security crisis in Mindanao.”
Elpidio Paras, president of UC-1 Corporation, which owns and operates the Seven Seas Waterpark and Resort in Opol town, Misamis Oriental, said no definite date has been set for the waterpark’s opening.
"We have no definitive date yet since we are affected by the ongoing crisis in Mindanao," Paras, who also owns the Dahilayan Adventure Park in Dahilayan, Bukidnon, said.
Paras said if martial law is lifted, the park can open in August or September.
But President Rodrigo Duterte has asked Congress to extend martial law in Mindanao beyond the 60-day period mandated by the 1987 Constitution.
Speaking to Palace reporters on Tuesday, July 18, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the President sought to extend martial law until December 31 this year.
Abella said Duterte explained that the "existing rebellion in Mindanao will not be quelled completely down until 22nd of July."
Duterte, in his letter, was quoted as saying: "For this reason and because public safety requires it, I call upon the Congress to extend until 31st December 2017 or for such a period of time as the Congress may determine the proclamation of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao."
Abella said the chief executive would wait for Congress' approval on his intent to extend the martial law in the south.
"He (Duterte) said again and again that there's a looming situation in Mindanao which needs to be completely and totally addressed," the President's spokesman said.
The validity of martial law in Mindanao will end on July 22.
Paras said he hopes the region’s security crisis will be over sooner.
“We hope to open late August, or mid-September if Martial Law is lifted,” Paras said.
The waterpark, which sits in a seven-hectare property, is patterned after various water parks abroad.
It is a pirate-themed park with over 20 different slides, rides and attractions, as well as restaurants, cafes and food kiosks to service a visitor capacity of at least 2,000 daily.
It will feature rides like The Cyclone, the largest water slide in the country, the Mighty Maui River, the longest lazy river in the country with a 400 meter (1,312 ft) length, and the Jolly Roger CombiTower, which will serve as the launching point of several other rides and offers customers a 270 degree view of the whole area.
A vertical aqua loop water slide called the Plank Drop is also available, where riders are launched from a transparent capsule-like cylinder from a height of 20 meters, the Cutlass and Cannon Ball Run rides, two different kinds of free-fall slides.
It will also feature rides named Pacific Racer, Buccaneer Bay, Crow's Nest, Riptide Reef, Escape Tunnel, Pira-Chute, and the Captain Kidd's Hideout.
Paras said the park will employ between 100 to 200 employees composed of a core group of full-time staff plus part-time workers and on-the-job-trainees from different schools depending on the season.
Opol Mayor Maximino Seno said the opening of the waterpark will benefit the town.
Seno said 80 percent the water park’s employees will come from Opol town and said he expects a big boost in the town’s tourism industry.
"The waterpark is state-of-the-art, we envision that it is going to be a top tourist destination in the country and the world, it will boost our tourism industry here, dako ta ug benefit makuha ana, aside sa income generation, employment pud, ug ang ngalan sa Opol mailhan na," Seno said. (With SunStar Philippines)