Boracay quarantine breach: Hotel closed, BFP chief axed
Emmanuel Tupas, Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - June 18, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The accreditation of a hotel in Boracay where a Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) employee who tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 stayed has been revoked.

In an interview on CNN Philippines yesterday, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the hotel, which she did not identify, did not have a certificate to operate at the time.

“All the staff and general manager of the hotel are now quarantined,” Puyat added.

The Department of Tourism (DOT)-Western Visayas office said only nine accommodation establishments in Boracay have been issued certificates of authority to operate as of Tuesday.

The Malay municipal government said the BFP employee was allowed to enter the island around 5 p. m. on June 12.

She claimed she would attend a conference, referring to the meeting of the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF), which is headed by the secretaries of the Departments of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Tourism.

“We left after lunch. That person arrived after we came. She pretended that she was with our party,” Puyat said.

The BIATF decried the entry of a group of BFP personnel in Boracay, noting that the island was not yet open to tourists.

Boracay reopened on Tuesday only for tourists from Western Visayas.

Natividad Bernardino, Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation Management Group general manager, said no other groups had entered the island before it was reopened.

The infected BFP employee arrived in Iloilo City from Cebu and was waiting for the result of her swab test when she and 25 other BFP personnel visited Boracay. She stayed at the hotel until June 14. Her test result came out on June 13.

26 other BFP personnel relieved

BFP-Western Visayas director Senior Superintendent Roderick Aguto and 26 other BFP personnel were relieved from their posts over the quarantine breach and unofficial trip to Boracay.

Aguto was reassigned to the BFP office in Quezon while an investigation is ongoing.

Senior Supt. Jerry Candido, BFP director for logistics, assumed Aguto’s post.

”We will never tolerate any wrongdoing by our BFP personnel or any other DILG personnel. Our lives are at stake here,” Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said.

The Malay municipal government said it would file charges against the “irresponsible” BFP personnel  for putting the lives of  residents and tourists on the island at risk.

Rhodina Villanueva, Jennifer Rendon, Ghio Ong

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