ITOGON, Benguet – The municipal government suggested to owners of the various resorts in the municipality to consider limiting or even banning the sale, serving and drinking of liquor within their business areas to prevent the occurrence of incidents that often lead to loss of lives due to unavoidable drowning incidents.
Mayor Bernard S. Waclin said that with the ongoing renewal of permits of all businesses in the municipality, he will propose to resort owners and operators limiting or even banning the sale, serving and drinking of liquor by customers visiting resorts to avoid the occurrence of untoward incidents leading to the loss of lives.
He pointed out that liquor is often part of the celebrations when people gather but this should be regulated or as much as possible avoided, especially in resorts with swimming pools and river banks, to prevent the untimely drowning of intoxicated individuals that often lead to their untimely demise.
Last January 3, 2023, a 39-year man died after he allegedly drowned in the swimming pool of the Rainbow Resort at Purok, 3, Poblacion.
The victim who was identified as Mariano, Fagsao Keya, 39, married, a resident of Fatima, Ucab, Itogon, Benguet and a native of Saclit, Sadanga, Mountain Province reportedly left their cottage under the influence of liquor and immediately proceeded to the swimming pool area.
However, a customer reported to the resort personnel the presence of an unconscious individual at the bottom of the pool. The victim was lifted from the pool by the resort personnel and was rushed to the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) by personnel of the municipal health office but he was declared dead on arrival by attending physicians.
Mayor Waclin also suggested to the resort owners to increase the presence of lifeguards in the vicinity of their swimming pools so that they could immediately respond to emergency situations that may arise in their resorts.
According to him, the proposed policy limiting or banning the sale, serving and drinking of liquor in their business areas will be thoroughly discussed with the resort owners to solicit their suggestions and recommendations on how to ensure the safety of people patronizing their facilities.
Itogon is one of the areas being frequented by day visitors because of the existence of various hot spring resorts where people love to have their rest and recreation activities. The resorts in the municipality are the fastest growing tourist spots outside Baguio city.
Aside from the existing resorts, the municipality is also known for the scenic trekking destinations such as Mount Ugo and Mount Ulap where various international ultra-marathon events had been conducted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic that made Itogon one of the well-known hosts of ultra-marathon races through the years.
Mayor Waclin expressed hope that despite the recent drowning incident in one of the resorts, visitors will still continue to patronize these to help the local tourism industry that had been heavily impacted by the pandemic.