San Juan, La Union Mayor Arturo Valdriz suspended all water activities and announced to close the beaches in the entire town on Wednesday.
Mayor Arturo Valdriz referenced an executive order, citing a gale warning issued by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). The warning indicated the presence of “strong to gale-force winds” currently affecting or anticipated to impact the Northern Luzon seaboard.
Valdriz clarified that the decision to close the area was influenced by a tragic incident involving the drowning of a 12-year-old boy and his nine-year-old cousin, both residents of Kibungan, Benguet.
The incident occurred while they were swimming at a beach in Barangay Taboc on Tuesday. The victims, whose identities have not been disclosed, were swept away by large waves. The boy was pronounced dead upon arrival at Bacnotan District Hospital, while efforts to locate his cousin are still underway.
Valdriz mentioned that the waters of San Juan are currently being affected by the adverse impacts of the Northeast Monsoon or amihan, leading to the occurrence of substantial waves.
“This extraordinary water condition in the municipal seawaters poses risk to our beachgoers, which could lead to drowning,” warned Valdriz.
However, in a revised executive order issued on Thursday at noon, the town mayor permitted surfing exclusively in front of the upscale Kahuna Beach Resort and Spa in Urbiztondo barangay. The town executive emphasized that this is the sole designated area considered safe for engaging in the water activity.