MANILA, Philippines – The family of an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who allegedly drowned while swimming in the crater of Mt. Pinatubo plans to sue those who may be found liable for his death.
Forty-four year old Anastacio Julao of Mabalacat, Pampanga drowned in the crater-lake on January 2, 2013.
“Nag back-stroke pa daw yan. Tapos yun na nakita nang itinataas ang kamay, tapos sumigaw na ng help, help ganun,” said Lolly Julao, the victim’s mother.
Julao’s family said there were no rescuers in the area and the tourist guide was the only one who helped the victim.
“Kahit pa ang maliit na swimming pool may lifeguard e sa kanila ang mahal ng bayad P1,500,” his mother said.
His mother further added that he could have been saved it if there were rescuers or even a helicopter in the area.
“Walang chopper. Nilakad nila anak ko, ibinaba sa bundok, dalawang oras!" she said.
The report of the Municipal Office of Capas in Tarlac stated that Julao died of heart attack, something that his family finds it hard to believe.
“Eh bakit siya maglalakad ng 7 hours kung may sakit siya?” said his mother.
His death prompted the Department of Tourism to issue an advisory to the public that the lake has been found to contain “hazardous substances”.
The DOT regional office said the crater has been found to contain arsenic, aluminum, boron, chloride, iron, manganese, sulfate and total solids that “may affect human health in various ways and may become fatal over an extended period of time”.
The Pinatubo’s summit has become a major attraction to tourists because of its deep crater lake. The advisory added that the crater should “never to be treated like a resort playground for swimming, kayaking or aqua cycling”.
However, the DOT clarified that the ball is now in the hands of the local government of Capas in Tarlac and the one managing the area if they will heed the advisory or not. Report from Trish Mostoles, ABS-CBN News