DENR exec says BFP personnel with COVID-19 not part of Boracay meeting
MANILA, Philippines — An official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Thursday said that the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) personnel tested positive for coronavirus was not part of the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) meeting held on the island last June 11.
“No BFP representative was in the meeting nor was the agency invited to the meeting because it is not a member of the BIATF,” DENR director Natividad Bernardino, who also organized the BIATF meeting, said in a statement.
Bernardino made this clarification following reports came out that the female BFP employee from Western Visayas was part of the contingent that arrived in Boracay for the meeting.
The BIATF, which was formed on May 8, 2018, is tasked to supervise and manage the rehabilitation of the island.
Members of the BIATF include DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu, Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat and Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año.
The DENR official added only 15 people—including the three secretaries—present in the main meeting room.
Strict health protocols and safety protocols were observed throughout the BIATF meeting, from the arrival of attendees, the actual meeting and when officials went around the island for inspection
“Because we wanted to safeguard the island and its people from COVID-19, we had the participants pass through all protocols and we limited the number of attendees coming in the island for the meeting,” Bernardino said.
The BFP personnel was said to have roamed around the island while waiting for her swab results, which later came out positive for SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
It was said that the personnel arrived in Boracay on June 12, along with 27 of her companions from the BFP Western Visayas, where they had a meeting on the island and later partied on.
The test results of the BFP personnel later came out two days later on June 14.
Año later ordered to sack the regional director of the BFP Western Visayas for command responsibility, as well as the 28 personnel, including the BFP employee, for breaching quarantine protocols.
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