Cebu governor orders closure of Kawasan Falls due to safety issues

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 6) — Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia has ordered the temporary closure of Kawasan Falls until hazardous debris and abandoned structures in the area are removed and new guidelines are in place.

Last week, Garcia issued an executive order halting canyoneering activities in the area until the Matutinao River in Kawasan is also cleared.

After a meeting with Badian officials Monday afternoon, Garcia said the provincial government is taking over the administration of Kawasan Falls.

"That is a disaster waiting to happen," she said. "And I don't want a black mark on Cebu's tourism, particularly Kawasan Falls which is recognized as one of the most beautiful falls in the world."

"So that rather than allow that disaster to happen, we might as well take that preventive action," the governor added.

Garcia said there are debris from structures destroyed by Typhoon Odette as well as abandoned structures near the Matutinao River and at the falls that pose danger to tourists.

One of the structures is an abandoned dam with sprouting metal rods, which could injure those swimming or joining the canyoneering activities.

"For that reason, the Province of Cebu is temporarily taking over the clearing of the Kawasan Falls and the eventual re-presentation to the public," Garcia said. "We will do everything that needs to be done."

She also said tour operators in Kawasan Falls need to organize to come up with standards.

The rates should be reviewed because some tourists do not want to pay ₱1,500 each for canyoneering, the governor also said, adding there will also be retraining of tour guides.

Garcia clarified that the canyoneering activities in the neighboring town of Alegria will continue. It is only in Badian where activities are temporarily suspended.

Kawasan Falls is one of the tourist spots in the country frequented by foreign and local tourists. It flows through Matutinao River in Badian, some 105 kilometers southwest of Cebu City or about a three-hour drive from the province's capital.