DOT to probe surfing mishap involving Karen Davila son in Siargao
The Department of Tourism (DOT) committed on Saturday it would look into the surfing accident involving journalist Karen Davila’s son in Siargao over the Holy Week break, as it agreed on the increasing need to ensure better medical facilities in the island that is fast becoming a tourist draw in Mindanao.
According to Assistant Tourism Secretary Ricky Alegre, their department shares Davila’s concerns on ensuring public safety and the availability of emergency medical assistance to visitors, which their accredited establishments are “required to comply with.”
On Friday, Davila posted on her Facebook page photos of her son David who was left injured in a surfing accident. Davila lamented that not only did the trainer, Jocol, disappear following the incident, but they also found out that he did not take David “further out to sea, which is safer for beginners as there are no rocks.”
“Clearly, Jocol is not capable and trained to teach minors,” Davila said on her post that has since gone viral. She added that they also learned that surfing instructors in the island are not even required to obtain a certification.
She also pointed out that while there were stores that sell first-aid items, like gauze and alcohol, there were no clinics nor any trained medical personnel in the area to assist injured tourists.
“[T]hey are able to sell the first-aid meds but essentially don’t know [how] to assist you. In other words, ‘bahala ka na sa buhay mo,’” she said. “Once a town is sold to tourists, the primary responsibility of both the national and the local government is to ensure the safety of the tourists,” she added.
The lack of proper medical facilities in Siargao is just another problem that the island would have to contend with as its tourism industry continues to grow.
Like Boracay, Siargao is also grappling with its garbage problem which various groups are advocating for the local government to address.
Earlier, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) started the legalization process of “colorum” transport services on the island to ensure that only those with franchises can serve tourists.
The LTFRB noted that their move was meant to safeguard the welfare of commuters, especially in the event of a road crash.