Rizal officials say mountaineers had no permit
MANILA, Philippines—Officials of Rodriguez town in Rizal province were looking into the death of a mountaineer whose decomposing body was found Tuesday morning after he was reported missing since Sunday.
Rodriguez municipal office public information officer Girlie Singson said the 24 mountaineers, including victim Adrian Alba, explored the upper portion of the Montalban River without a permit.
Ruel Santos, executive officer of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, also noted that Alba’s group did not stay long enough for an inquiry into the incident.
“They did not cooperate possibly because they did not secure permits for their activities from the barangay,” said Santos.
Barangay captain Edgardo Sison said the group only asked for permission from his office to go “sightseeing.” Had he known earlier they would go camping in the area, the village office would provide an escort, he said.
“They would only pay a minimal fee and we would ensure their security,” said the barangay captain.
Sison said they do not advise visitors to cross the river as many have drowned there before.
Alba, 25, and the 23 mountaineers were crossing the river with a rope when strong current swept him away.
The river current last Sunday was “three times stronger than today’s (Tuesday),” said Santos.
Investigation showed that some members of the mountaineering group had “shouted at him to take off his backpack when he lost his grip on the rope they were using to cross the river. The backpack could have been used as a floating device by the victim,” said Santos.
It was after Alba let go of his backpack that he was finally swept away by the water, said Santos.
Sison said Alba may have drowned in an area where the water was about 30 feet deep.
But while the incident happened at around 9 a.m. Sunday, Santos said the rescue team was only informed about it at around 1 p.m.
He said that the victim’s family had told him that it was the victim’s first time to join an organized camping trip although he had been climbing mountains for years.
River authorities found Alba’s body at around 6 a.m. Tuesday morning at Sitio Wawa, Barangay San Rafael, Rodriguez town, Rizal, about five kilometers from where he disappeared, officials said.
Authorities recovered Alba’s body by the river at around 6 a.m. at Sitio Wawa, Barangay San Rafael, Rodriguez town, Rizal which was five kilometers from where he disappeared after being swept away in the river at Sitio Kayrupa in the same village.
He was only identified by his family through a tattoo on his leg, said Sison.
Although the area is an “open area for visitors,” Sison said that the mountaineers “should have told us they intended to camp out in the area. We would have assigned a guide who would have stopped them from crossing the river.”