2 fined for violating COVID-19 protocols in Boracay
ILOILO CITY, Iloilo, Philippines — A house owner and a party organizer were fined P5,000 each by local authorities in relation to a private Halloween event in Boracay that, they said, violated COVID-19 health protocols on the resort island.
Acting Mayor Frolibar Bautista of Malay town in Aklan province, which has jurisdiction over Boracay, said the owner of Jade’s Casa de Arte and one of the party organizers defied the guidelines meant to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
Jade’s Casa de Arte is advertised as a resort, but according to the Department of Tourism, it does not have a business permit and necessary clearances.“We are still locating another organizer who has the logbook of those who attended the party,” Bautista said in a phone interview on Sunday.
The party became controversial after photographs surfaced in social media showing partygoers without face masks and ignoring physical distancing measures.
Police also filed criminal complaints against two foreigners who were wearing police uniforms at the party in violation of Article 179 of the Revised Penal Code, which penalizes any person “who shall publicly and improperly make use of insignia, uniforms or dress pertaining to an office not held by such person or to a class of persons of which (he/she) is not a member.”
The party held on Oct. 31 until the morning of Nov. 1 in Barangay Manoc-Manoc was believed to be a Halloween event. Bautista, however, said organizers had told the owner of the house that they were renting the entire area for a birthday party.
The house is about 700 meters from the main road and has a swimming pool, said Bautista.
In a statement, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat “strongly” reminded the local government and stakeholders, as well as guests of the island “to strictly observe the duly prescribed health and safety guidelines.”
“We are appealing to our [local government units, or LGUs] to please cooperate with us in the safe and responsible reopening of our tourist destinations. The jobs and livelihoods that were recently restored in these sites will be affected once again if an outbreak occurs in the area due to the LGU’s negligence,” she said.
Boracay reopened to tourists from Western Visayas on June 16 after three months of closure to tourists. It began accepting tourists from outside the region on Oct.1.
Partying is still prohibited on the island, and bars and restaurants are required to close by 11 p.m. when the curfew is in effect until 4 a.m.
Businesses continue to struggle financially while thousands of workers have been laid off or forced to go on unpaid leave amid continued travel restrictions and concerns over the pandemic.
Tourist arrivals in Boracay have been averaging around a hundred daily.