Raps filed vs 28 BFP employees over Boracay quarantine breach
ILOILO CITY—The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) has filed administrative complaints against 28 of its personnel in Western Visayas who traveled to Boracay Island with an employee infected with COVID-19.
Supt. Annalee Carbajal-Atienza, BFP spokesperson, said the charges against the 28 officers and noncommissioned officers were filed in early October in the the BFP’s national headquarters.
“They have been directed to file their answer after which the cases will be resolved within 30 days,” Atienza told the Inquirer in a telephone interview on Wednesday.
She said the personnel are facing varying charges including conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, simple misconduct, serious dishonesty and grave misconduct before the BFP’s Hearing Office.
Atienza confirmed that among those facing charges were former BFP Western Visayas director Senior Supt. Roderick Aguto and an employee who traveled from Iloilo City to Boracay while waiting for the release of her test result, which confirmed her COVID-19-positive.
The BFP personnel, including fire marshals, were placed on floating status pending the resolution of their cases.
They stayed in Boracay from June 12 to 14 purportedly for a conference. But a BFP investigating team earlier established that there was no meeting or conference that warranted the group’s trip when the resort island was still closed to tourists.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government had relieved the 28 BFP personnel for breach of health protocols. The employees are also facing allegations that they held a “despedida” (farewell) party supposedly for Aguto.
The Malay municipal government in Aklan said the BFP personnel were allowed on the island as they declared that they were attending a conference.
The breach of protocol raised an outcry from the local governments of Malay and Iloilo City, as well as residents and business operators in Boracay who bore the brunt of months of strict community quarantine measures.
Fifty-five people, including hotel personnel and motorboat passengers and crew in Boracay, had to be placed on a 14-day quarantine because of their exposure to the infected BFP personnel. They tested negative for the disease. —NESTOR P. BURGOS JR.
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