More rescue teams dispatched to Siargao: DOT


MANILA — The Department of Tourism (DOT), in coordination with the local government of Siargao, has dispatched more rescue teams to the top tourist destination for surfers, a day after broadcast journalist Karen Davila made headlines as her post about the incident involving her son in Siargao made the rounds online.

Tourism Undersecretary Kat de Castro said Saturday more rescue teams have been dispatched to the island, including Cloud 9, Magpupungko and the Boulevard, amid the remaining days of the Holy Week,.

De Castro also vowed that the DOT would carefully look into issues of non-existence of first-aid facilities, life guards, and other concerns raised by Davila in her post.

In a Facebook post, Davila said her family was billeted at Isla Cabana in Siargao where they hired surfing instructors to assist her two sons, David and Lucas.

She wrote that the resort contacted Junrey Taoy, a seasoned surfing instructor whom Isla Cabana often outsourced for guests.

Taoy then recommended a friend, Jocol Valerio, to train Davila’s son, David.

About half an hour later, Davila found out that David was injured.

She said that after showing her husband the store where first aid supplies were usually bought, Valerio suddenly disappeared.

Davila narrated that no one was there to give first aid to her son who was already bleeding, until the resort owners offered to bring them to the nearest hospital, which was a 45-minute drive from their location.

At the hospital, she said, while there were a doctor and a nurse on duty, no tetanus shot was available.

After the incident, the broadcaster got the chance to talk with Jaime Rusillon, mayor of General Luna town in Siargao.

“Karen, we’re a fifth class municipality and we lack doctors, and we are not ready for the influx of tourists. We were shocked,” Davila quoted the mayor as saying.

According to the DOT, Surigao del Norte Governor Sol Matugas had already ordered nine municipalities in the province to observe solid waste management and to ensure adequate rescue teams in their crowded destinations.

“All municipalities followed the governor’s order except the mayor of General Luna,” the department said.

Promised budget

Responding to Davila’s viral post, House of Representatives Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Saturday assured that the national government is addressing the lack of infrastructure in tourist destinations.

In the case of Siargao, he said that along with Governor Matugas and Surigao del Norte Rep. Francisco Matugas, they are now “taking steps” to address the lack of first aid and medical facilities on the island.

“I will make sure that the budget is released for these projects,” he said in a statement. Joyce Ann Rocamora/