Thursday Jan, 20 2022 12:39:13 AM

Another returning overseas Filipino nabbed over protocol breach

TOURISM • 08:30 AM Tue Jan 4, 2022
Raymond Carl Dela Cruz

MANILA – Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Monday reported that another Filipino from overseas was caught having broken the mandatory quarantine after posting on social media.

In an interview over DZMM, Puyat said the Filipino made a post of them having a massage.

“Actually meron pa isang kaso e. Binigay 'yung pangalan, nag-skip ng quarantine, in fact nag-post pa sa social media nagpapamasahe siya. Nahuli na rin (Actually, there is another case. The name was given, skipped quarantine, in fact, posted on social medial while having massage. Arrested already),” Puyat said.

This, after a Filipina named Gwyneth Chua from the United States, was earlier caught breaking quarantine protocol to attend a party and was later tested positive for Covid-19.

Puyat said Chua, currently undergoing mandatory quarantine in a hotel and watched over by authorities, admitted to having skipped her quarantine.

“As soon as she arrived, the next day, nag-party na. Ang nasabi ay parang binayaran lamang yung hotel, yun ang nakuha namin at bumalik lamang siya para mag-swab (As soon as she arrived, the next day she partied. What we heard is the hotel was paid, and she went back just to get swabbed),” Puyat said.

Aside from the 15 fellow party guests found to have been infected, 23 other secondary contacts have so far tested positive for Covid-19 since their party at the Kampai Restobar in Poblacion, Makati City.

“Secondary pa lang nakapag-identify kami ng 23. Yung mga nahawa ng nahawa niya. Pero lahat naka-isolate na (we have already identified 23. Those who were infected. But all of them are now under isolation),” Puyat said.

She said the Berjaya Hotel, the hotel where Chua was supposed to have stayed for her initial quarantine—has been asked to explain and may face penalties from the DOT ranging from suspension of operations, revocation of their accreditation, or temporary closure.

Under the current Alert Level 3, she said hotels are limited to only 30 percent of their maximum occupancy from the previous 50 percent.

In addition, she said those who wish to stay at hotels while unvaccinated are required to present a negative RT-PCR test result “at their own expense.”

The DOT has endorsed the case to the Philippine National Police as a member of the One-Stop-Shop for the Management of Returning Overseas Filipino (OSS-MROF) for appropriate action.

The investigation found that the returning overseas Filipino was referred to Berjaya Hotel for the mandatory quarantine period for arriving international passengers.

The hotel management, however, claimed that when its personnel went to the airport to pick up the individual, according to the procedure, the individual evaded going with hotel staff by claiming a quarantine exemption that turned out to be non-existent.

The DOT appreciated the hard work and dedication of all accredited hotels who have ensured that returning Filipinos safely and comfortably finish the prescribed quarantine before they are allowed to leave hotel premises.

The DOT reminded all establishments and the traveling public to be responsible and strictly observe the guidelines and protocols imposed by the authorities.

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