PNP: Drowning of 10 people on Holy Week shows need for ordinances

DAGUPAN CITY — The drowning of 10 vacationists in various rivers and beaches of Pangasinan on Holy Week should serve as a wake up call to local government units (LGUs) in Pangasinan to enact ordinances that will ensure the safety of tourists going to their places.

This was underscored by Chief Inspector Norman Florentino, chief of the Pangasinan Police Community Relations Office, who noted that most of the drowning victims in the last Holy Week were under the influence of liquor and did their swimming in rivers.

He said without an ordinance enacted by Local Government Units for the police to implement, they cannot confiscate intoxicating drinks being brought by tourists in places where they intend to swim or spend a few hours of fun and relaxation.

“Remember, the purpose of people in going to a place is to have a picnic, swim and have some fun and many consider that drinking of liquor is a form of fun,” said Florentino.

Without an ordinance to back them up, the police guarding various vacation sites are helpless as they cannot confiscate liquor brought in by tourists, he added.

Malou Elduayan, provincial tourism officer, said the PDRRMC as well as the police really secured the Lingayen beach during the Holy Week and prevented those reeking with liquor from taking a dip in the Lingayen Gulf.

Drinking in the Lingayen beach was strictly prohibited even if the ordinance banning liquor in the area is yet to be enacted by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

No drowning occurred at Tondaligan Beach in Dagupan on Holy Week as the city government put lifeguards in seven beach towers and members of the CDRRMO were constantly patrolling the beach’s no swimming zone aboard a motorboat.

During the Holy Week, Municipal/ City Risk Reduction and Management Councils were mobilized to keep watch on crowds flocking in various river banks.

Except for the 10 drowning incidents and a few vehicular accidents, the observance of Holy Week in Pangasinan was generally peaceful, said Florenitno.