Jun 18, 2020

An “irresponsible and blatant disregard of quarantine protocols”—that’s how Malay, Aklan’s Acting Mayor Frolibar Bautista called the trip and alleged party of Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) personnel in Boracay on Independence Day.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) is now investigating the case of a quarantine protocol breach that took place on the island four days before its official reopening to local tourists from Western Visayas on June 16. This involved a BFP employee, who was confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19, staying on the island a day before her test result was released.

Aside from neglecting her 14-day quarantine period while waiting for the release of her reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test as part of health protocols, the BFP employee also roamed around Boracay. 

The local government unit (LGU) of Malay also confirmed reports that the infected employee and 27 other colleagues held a party on the island. 

In addition to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) ordering investigations on the BFP personnel, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said that they have initiated procedures to revoke the accreditation of the resort that housed the group before the island’s official reopening. The resort’s staff and management are now on strict quarantine as well.

On June 16, the LGU of Malay shared in an official statement posted on Facebook that, The personnel of the Local Government Unit of Malay allowed the entry of the BFP personnel on June 12, 2020. This is due to the fact that the BFP Personnel cited “for conference” as a reason to enter Boracay Island and also written in their port manifesto that they originated from Kalibo, Aklan. The “conference” apparently refers to the meeting of the respective secretaries of DENR, DILG, and DOT on June 11 – 12, 2020.

However, the BFP Personnel allegedly went on unofficial business and violated quarantine protocols of both the Municipality of Malay and Municipality of Kalibo (the personnel’s place of origin), they added.

As per the Passengers’ Data Sheet obtained from the records of the Municipal Tourism Office, the infected BFP personnel left the municipality of Malay on June 14.


This led to DILG secretary Eduardo Año ordering the termination of Western Visayas’ BFP regional director Fire Senior Superintendent Roderick Aguto, as a form of commanding responsibility for his personnel.

“Panahon ng pandemya ngayon at hindi pwede ang mga palusot. Moreover, as law enforcers, we must set a good example to our people and the breach of quarantine protocols sets a very bad example,” he said.

In line with this, the BFP-6 Regional Office, provincial offices and fire stations have been placed on lockdown to conduct disinfection.

 

Header photo by tttboram from Pixabay

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