Minglanilla pool resort suspended

·4 min read

A RESORT in Minglanilla town, Cebu has been ordered to temporarily suspend its operations after a drowning incident that cost the life of a 20-year-old man on Wednesday, July 13, 2022.

Mayor Rajiv Enad issued the suspension order against Circa La Playa resort in Barangay Tungkil pending an official investigation.

The victim, identified as Claire Remocaldo of Barangay Ylaya, Carcar City, southern Cebu, was attending a work-related team building activity when he jumped into the pool at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday as shown in the resort’s closed circuit television (CCTV) footage.

It was only at 3:50 p.m. when his body was retrieved by his fellow employees with the help of Wendell Sardoval, the resort’s lifeguard. The rescuers tried to revive him but failed before he was brought to a hospital where he was declared dead by attending physicians.

The video footage also showed the victim trying to keep afloat with both his hands, but no one came to help him. He reportedly did not know how to swim.

Remocaldo’s co-employee discovered him when he accidentally touched the victim’s hands while swimming underwater. He then informed the others.

It was also in this resort where a three-year-old son of a teacher and a 13-year-old boy drowned in the swimming pool on April 9, 2018 and July 15, 2017, respectively.

Enad has formed a team to conduct an investigation to determine if there was any negligence on the part of the resort’s staff and to find solutions to prevent similar incidents from happening again.

“It is high time we promoted the municipality not only as a fun tourist destination but also as a safe tourist destination,” Enad said on Thursday, July 14.

“The team asked that the resort install an elevated lifeguard station with a full view of the pool, repaint the signage on the depth of the pool, procure additional floating equipment, hire more licensed lifeguards and assign personnel to monitor the security cameras,” the mayor added.

‘Invisible’

Meanwhile, questions arose on the circumstances surrounding Remocaldo’s death after no one saw him jumping into the eight-foot portion of the swimming pool even while his fellow employees stood on the same pool at a depth of four feet, and the resort’s lifeguard failed to notice him.

Sardoval denied reports that there were no lifeguards on duty at the time of the incident. He said the victim even asked him where the other lifeguards were and he replied that they were in the other pool.

He said he was sitting in front of the swimming pool, eating, while the victim’s fellow workers were talking at the side of the pool and were soon joined by another one.

Sardoval said even the four employees did not see Remocaldo pleading for his life.

“I was there eating and my eyes were focused on the pool, but all I could see were the four others. We really did not see him. Even the one who dove into the pool ahead of him as shown in the video did not notice him trying to keep his head above the water,” Sardoval said in Cebuano.

Sardoval said four lifeguards are deployed each day to watch over the resort’s two swimming pools with two guards assigned for each.

Another lifeguard, Shane Sorvea, also echoed Sardoval’s statements, saying they were unaware that the victim had jumped into the pool.

Police Major Albart Tare, chief of Minglanilla Police Station, said they are now focusing their investigation on the lifeguards as there were no lifeguards in Circa La Playa when they arrived in the area to investigate the incident.

“We will conduct further investigation as it is supposed, if we have a pool business, that the owner is responsible to have someone placed as lifeguard or watcher. So far, we didn’t see any in the area during the conduct of investigation,” Tare said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

Tare said they could not yet hold the resort accountable for the incident as the investigation is still ongoing.

Charito Pacaña Delgado, one of the owners of the resort, said they would give financial assistance to the victim’s family.

Her husband, Manolo, met with the family of the victim and the staff of the municipality’s tourism office on Thursday, July 14, to settle the matter. (ANV, BBT, TPT)

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