Authorities identified Wednesday, September 28, the body of the third and last person missing from an accident which happened Sunday, September 26, in Tinubdan Falls in Catmon town in northern Cebu.
The body of Jacel Alastra, 32, was found Tuesday afternoon off the waters of Barangay Luyang in nearby Carmen town, some 23 kilometers from the site of the tragedy.
It was recovered by responders of the Catmon municipal government, Cebu Provincial DRRMO, and personnel of the Philippine National Police and Philippine Coast Guard.
According to Catmon Municipal Councilor Dan Modiquillo Jusay, Alastra was among a group of 11 family members who were having a picnic at the foot of the Tinubdan falls on Sunday. Disaster struck when a large gush of water rampaged the area and swept people away.
Aside from Alastra, those reported missing were her 7-year-old daughter, and 17-year-old Kent Jude Monterola.
“Tulo ang naanod. Inahan ug anak ug 17 years old. Mga relatives ra to sila (Three were swept away. A mother, her child, and a 17-year-old. They were all relatives),” Jusay said.
Monterola’s remains were found eight hours after the accident in a culvert in Sitio Kansija, Barangay Flores in Catmon. The child’s body was recovered the following day in Sitio Kulo, Barangay Duyan also in Catmon town.
Footage of the tragedy was captured by onlookers and went viral on the social video platform TikTok.
Jusay told Rappler that the giant surge might have been caused by a large stream of water passing from a portion of the Naghalin River down to the Tinubdan Falls.
Jusay says this was a natural occurrence in the area and was the reason why swimming was not permitted in the river.
The town councilor explained that more people found out about the area because of vloggers who would trek there and feature the falls in their videos.
“Actually, wala gyud na nato gitagaan og permit tungod da kadelikado sa lugar. Dili unta na open para kaligoan (Actually, we really didn’t give this place a permit due how dangerous the place is. It’s supposedly not open for people to swim in),” he said.
Jusay added that the entrance to part of the falls was actually private property.
Along that area there are cottages which people can use for P50.
For now, Jusay said that the town council already convened to establish a fact-finding committee to investigate the accident. Among the recommendations they received were to temporarily close the area.
“Ipainvestigate pud namo kung naa ba gyuy tulubagon ang tag-iya sa private property (We will also have them investigate if the owner of the private property is accountable for anything),” he said. – Rappler.com