By NITZ ARANCON
and JOEY NACALABAN
CITY hall yesterday created a group that would investigate into the death of an 8th grader at the local governmentun Kagay-an Lawndale Spring Resort on Sunday.
The group, recommended by city administrator Teodoro Sabuga-a Jr., would be chaired by a representative of the City Legal Office and co-chaired by Councilor Jay Pascual, chair of the city council’s committee on tourism.
The “task force” would have members from the City Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office, Human Resource Management Office, City Information Office, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Department, City Budget Office and Regulatory and Complaints Board.
The City Information Office said investigators would look into the circumstances surrounding the drowning of 16-year old James Cloyd Casiño, an 8th grader at the Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School (Mogchs).
Chief Insp. Harvey Abellanosa, Cogon police chief, said Casiño, a resident of Talongan, Calaanan relocation site in Barangay Canito-an, drowned at the olympic-sized pool of the city hallun resort in Taguanao. Indahag at around 10 am Sunday.
Abellanosa said the drowning was first reported to the police by Gilda Casiño, the resort manager. Whether or not the resort manager was related to the victim remains unclear at presstime.
According to the police, Casiño reported that three lifeguards identified as Jesus Javier, Alexis Ceasar Rosales and Lorenzo Almonte rushed to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the younger Casiño but they failed to revive him.
The resort manager also told the police that a rescue team from the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Department came at around 10:07 am and rushed the 8th grader to the JR Borja Memorial General Hospital in Carmen where the teenager was declared dead on arrival.
The resort manager said the Casiños and their group arrived in the area at around 9 am and since it was a Sunday, there were many people in the resort.
She said there was no closed circuit televison recording of the the accident.
At Casiño’s wake at the Somo Funeral Homes, the teenager’s 51-year old mother Lorna said her family would bury James Cloyd at the public cemetery of Tagoloan town in Misamis Oriental on Thursday.
She said James Cloyd was with her and their entire family on a picnic at the resort on Sunday morning.
The elder Casiño said she began suspecting that something was wrong when she could no longer see her son at around 10 am.
“Amo dayong gipakita uban akong bana. Nalibot nalang namo ang swimming pool ug bisan sa gawas wala gyud namo nakita,” Ms. Casiño recalled.
She said she and other family members started searching for James Cloyd until a man who was also swimming in the seven-foot-deep pool yelled and said he saw someone at the bottom of the pool.
Ms. Casiño recounted that the lifeguards rushed and attempted to resuscitate her son until the ambulance came to rush the teenegar to the hospital.
“Unsaon man? Disgrasya man gyud, wala na tay mahimo, patay na akong anak,” the grieving mother said of the death of the youngest of her three children.
The mother said she and her husband decided not to subject the body of their son for autopsy, saying it was clear to them that it was accident.
Mayor Oscar Moreno said city hall has pledged to shoulder all the funeral expenses of the Casiños.
Moreno called the drowning “unfortunate” even as he ordered an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Casiño’s death.
“Atong gipa-imbistigar unsay hinongdan to make sure nga dili na kini mahitabo pag-usab ang maong insidente,” he said.
In an official statement, city hall said it was “deeply saddened” even as it expressed its “deepest sympathy and condolence to the bereaved family.”
It said the accident prompted local officials to have an emergency meeting where city administrator Sabuga-a pushed for the creation of a task force that would investigate and ferret out the circumstances behind the drowning.
The CIO said Casiño was found underwater by a still unidentified swimmer at around 9:47 am, and he immediately called the attention of the lifeguards. At the same time, according to CIO, the resort’s guard Fredo Arsenal called the CDRRMD for emergency medical assistance. The CIO said it took the rescue team “more or less 20 minutes” to arrive and rush Casiño to the hospital.