Boracay Halloween partygoers face raps

Jennifer Rendon (The Philippine Star) - November 27, 2020 - 12:00am

ILOILO CITY , Philippines — Charges have been filed against several persons for alleged violation of quarantine protocols when they attended a Halloween party in Boracay.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Pablito, Malay police chief, confirmed that several persons were charged, but did not give details.

The party was held at the Casa de Arte in Sitio Cagban, Barangay Manoc-Manoc from Oct. 31 until after midnight of Nov. 1, according to a report of the Western Visayas police.

Lt. Col. Joem Malong, regional police spokesperson, said at least 100 people attended the party.

Authorities said videos taken by partygoers, most of them foreigners, showed that participants did not wear face masks and did not observe physical distancing. A woman was also seen hugging a man.

Jack Bates, one of the organizers, claimed that it was a private birthday party.

However, initial investigation showed that an entrance fee of P250 was collected from each of the participants.

Police said Bates was fined P5,000 while a certain Aaron Vega and Vanessa Claire were charged with violation of Article 179 of the Revised Penal Code for wearing police uniforms as costumes during the party.

Malay Mayor Frolibar Bautista said the party was held at a ”private house” that was far from the beach and out of sight from authorities.

Bautista said another organizer of the event reportedly went into hiding.

‘Irresponsible’

The Department of Tourism slammed the ”irresponsible mass gathering.”

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said she supports the recommendation of the Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation Management Group to close the establishment for lack of a business permit and other clearances.

Puyat appealed to local government units (LGUs) to strictly implement quarantine protocols in their areas.

”Please cooperate with us in the safe and responsible reopening of our tourist destinations,” she said.

“The jobs and livelihood that were recently restored in these sites will be affected once again if an outbreak occurs due to the LGU’s negligence,” she added. – Emmanuel Tupas, Ghio Ong, Catherine Talavera

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