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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Magpale sees need to regulate canyoneering in Cebu south

ACTING Gov. Agnes Magpale said there’s a need to regulate canyoneering, an adventure trek in the river traversing Alegria and Badian towns, after three guests reportedly died there last March.

There is a report of a fourth casualty, which authorities are still verifying.

“We are not yet ready for this type of high-risk tourism,” said Magpale.

She said trek guides must have proper training and some activities must be regulated.

She said the number of canyoneering guests reaches a thousand on weekends, which translates into millions if guests pay an average of P1,000 each.

In Alegria and Badian, an adventurer rides with the river current, slides down huge boulders and jumps from waterfalls. The trek starts in Barangay Compostela, Alegria and ends in Kawasan Falls in Badian.

Magpale did not identify the casualties or when the incidents happened.

Canyoneering guide Felix Guardiario, 36, noted three canyoneering-related injuries last March involving two Tagalog-speaking guests and a Korean.

He said the first person sprained his leg when it got caught between a crack. The second was injured when he hit his back in the water during a 50-foot jump. He couldn’t walk and stand for a while after the jump.

The Korean injured his foot when it got caught between two rocks.

Provincial Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) head Baltazar Tribunalo recommended a two-month suspension of canyoneering so they can come up with safety guidelines.

He gave four recommendations: guests must strictly follow rules of discipline; guides must undergo training; vendors should learn proper garbage disposal; there must be a month-long training on how tourism activities must be held in the two towns.

He said La Niña is also coming, making swimming in the area more dangerous. Magpale said the wearing of proper gear before diving must be imposed.

Canyoneering guide Felix Guardiario said there are seven jumping areas 20 to 50 feet high.

Magpale called three meetings among officials of Alegria and Badian and guides before the last elections, but no representatives from Badian came.

Compostela Barangay Captain Joseph Redula said they cannot just issue orders to the guides, especially from Badian who bring guests in their area as starting point. They need Capitol to intervene.

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