Cebu gov’t suspends canyoneering in 2 towns for 'safety reasons'
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Governor Hilario Davide III has ordered the temporary suspension of all canyoneering tours and activities in Alegria and Badian towns in southern Cebu from June 1 to August 1 for safety reasons.
In an executive order issued on May 31, Davide said all canyoneering-related activities in the two barangays have to be suspended until policies and strict guidelines have been created to ensure the safety of residents and tourists in the sites.
Canyoneering is an adventure trek which usually takes at least 3 hours to finish. The trail begins from an upland barangay of Alegria and leads to Kawasan Falls in the adjacent Badian town.
The present rate is P1,000 to P1,500 ($21.62 to $32.42) for each person, covering the fee for the tour guide, safety gear, and transportation to nearby barangays.
The order came after the Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) conducted a safety assessment on the canyoneering site on May 19.
A team from the disaster office found lapses in the safety of the canyoneering activities, including unskilled and unaccredited tour guides.
PDRRMO Information officer Julius Regner said that, so far, only one casualty was reported in the canyoneering site.
"We only had one casualty, a tour guide, way back 2014. After that, we don’t have any other records of casualties, only injuries from tourists,” Regner said.
Regner added that they have already started to train the tour guides from Alegria in July and plans to train tour guides from Badian the month after.
"Sir Baltz (Chief of PDRRMO) decided to train the tour guides from Alegria first. It so happens that there is a new mayor in Badian so maybe this time we can coordinate better,” Regner said.
Regner said the office is hoping that since elections are over, the newly elected officials in the 2 towns will be able to address all environmental, business and tourism concerns. – Rappler.com
*$1 = P46.27
A student of Cebu Normal University, Jan Moises Alarcon is a Rappler intern based in Cebu.