Netizens call out Roque for alleged quarantine violation in Cebu gathering

Physical distancing neglected by the crowd while listening to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in Madridejos town on Bantayan Island on Friday, November 27. (DALE ISRAEL/INQUIRER VISAYAS)

CEBU CITY – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque is at it again.

Barely five months since he was widely criticized for swimming with dolphins in Subic in the middle of quarantine, President Duterte’s spokesman was jeered by netizens for addressing a thick and dense crowd on Bantayan Island, Cebu without allegedly observing physical distancing.

Photos of Roque with residents of the island made rounds on social media on Friday as netizens called him out for the “glaring” violation of quarantine rules.

Physical distancing or keeping a space of about a meter between a person and other people is a measure to curb the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

During a three-town island group tour in Madridejos town, throngs of crowd greeted the visitors, including Roque and Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.

Police pushed back the crowd at the Kota Park in Madridejos but people insisted to go to the venue to take a glimpse of the officials and former pageant candidates of Miss Universe 2020. While the crowd wore face masks, they obviously violated the physical distancing rule.

In his speech, Roque admitted that the physical distancing rule was not followed during the event.

He, however, said that the physical distancing rule may not be followed if people are wearing masks and they are in an open-air venue.

Roque reminded the crowd of the protocols: “Anong isusuot? Masks. Anong dapat gawin? Hugas. At pangatlo, ang hindi natin nasusunod ngayon, Iwas  di ba?”

“What should we wear? Masks. What should we do? Washing of hands. And third, this is what we failed to observe now, avoid (the crowded places).”

“Pero huwag n’yo lang tatanggalin ang mga masks niyo, okay na yan dahil open air naman tayo. (Do not remove your masks. That suffices because we’re in an open-air venue.”)