THE local government has organized a task force on Monday that will ensure the safety of tourists coming to Cagayan de Oro City, in the wake of the white water rafting accident that killed a 26-year-old nurse from Bohol.
Former Department of Tourism-Northern Mindanao (DOT-10) regional director, Dorothy Jean Pabayo, said Task Force Rapids (TFR) will pave a way to a more in-depth study on how incoming tourists will enjoy their stay without endangering their lives.
“Things just do not happen like that,” Pabayo, TFR consultant, said referring to the white water rafting tragic accident.
“We are learning from this, really. We dedicate this creation to the tourist’s death. It made us think that we really have to look into more on the things that we should be giving our attention to,” she told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro by phone Tuesday.
TFR is divided into three committees: safety and rescue, regulatory and capacity building.
Pabayo said the TFR involves DOT-10, Philippine Red Cross, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) among others. Outfitters and tour operators are also required to join in the committees.
“In order to improve and protect our industry, we are to delve into an intensive training program and a travel guide to all tourists. By the way, we do not just call them tourists but crew [whitewater rafting] since they are included in the team, they paddle,” she added.
Whitewater rafting in the city has been known a world-class tourist attraction, TFR is considering inviting trainers who are experts in this field.
“We are going to invite [topnotch] trainers from Japan, the US and other countries that have great whitewater rafting trainers,” she said.
The CDRRMO is currently on training to prepare for disasters that can possibly strike in the city.
However, CDRRMO head Mario Verner Monsanto said that they will also train in rescuing missions especially in the city’s whitewater rafting.
“Currently, they are on training at Camp Evangelista. First step, training in the pool and the camp itself has a good venue for it. Once they are ready, they will be trained in the sea,” Monsanto said.
“We are in an intensive training. The training is intensive since we are tasked to rescue lives. We are talking about lives here,” he added.
Pabayo added that outfitters and rafters will be reporting on a daily basis to see what needed to be improved, she said.
Equipment will also be checked regularly. And she added constant communication is vital for the task force.