Davide suspends canyoneering

FOR those who are planning to go on a canyoneering adventure from the towns of Alegria to Badian, you will have to wait until the sites will be re-opened to the public on Aug. 2, 2016.

In an executive order dated May 31, Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III ordered the temporary closure of the canyoneering adventure sites in Barangay Compostela, Alegria and in Barangay Matutinao, Badian.

The order will last for two months, from June 1 to Aug. 1.

Davide’s order was issued after the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) conducted a risk and safety assessment of the Kanlaob River, which serves as the canyoneering adventure site, that runs from Barangay Compostela in Alegria to Barangay Matutinao in Badian.

The PDRRMO, in its 11-page report submitted to the governor, recommended the “provisional closure” of the canyoneering sites, citing reports of accidents involving local and foreign tourists, who were brought in the area by local tour operators or guides.

Davide tasked the PDRRMO to formulate strict guidelines and regulations for the safety of residents and tourits, in consultation with the local government units of Alegria and Badian, on the conduct of any activities related to canyoneering.

Alice Queblatin, Tourism Congress vice president for travel and tour group for Visayas, earlier cited the need to set up control and monitoring systems on canyoneering that earns millions in a week.

The Alegria Tourism Office reported that in 2015 there were 32,502 tourists who embarked on canyoneering, of which 5,548 were foreign tourists.

From January to April this year, Alegria recorded some 42,552 canyoneering guests, with 10,662 of them foreign guests.

At 1,000 guests on weekends, the activity earns up to P1 million if each guest pays P1,000.

Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale earlier raised the need to regulate canyoneering, an adventure trek in the river traversing Alegria and Badian towns, after three guests reportedly died there last March.

Magpale, however, did not identify the casualties, and guide Felix Guardiario, 36, noted three canyoneering-related injuries last March involving two Tagalog-speaking guests and a Korean.

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