Caloocan City gov’t files raps vs Gubat sa Ciudad owners
MANILA, Philippines — The Caloocan City government on Wednesday filed criminal complaints against the management of Gubat sa Ciudad after the resort allegedly accepted guests earlier this week despite the implementation of strict quarantine protocols which prohibit resort operations.
Rodolfo de Guzman Jr. and Aleli de Guzman, president and general manager of the resort, respectively, were charged with violations of Republic Act No. 11332 or Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act and the Ordinance Mandating the Strict Implementation of Social or Physical Distancing of People and Other Relevant Measures to Curb the Spread of COVID-19.
Evelyn Cuevas, city health officer, and Emmanuel Emilio Vergara, head of the Business Permits and Licensing Office (BPLO), filed the complaint online before the City Prosecutor’s Office.
Last Sunday, photos of Gubat sa Ciudad resort in Barangay 171, North Caloocan, showed hundreds of guests swimming at the pool.
BPLO personnel who went to the resort the same day found that there were over 500 guests at the resort, some were at the pool while others were congregating in cottages without proper physical distance.
According to the complaint, a copy of which was released to the media on Wednesday night, the respondents were liable for violation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) Omnibus Guidelines dated April 15, 2021, in relation to the revised implementing rules and regulations of RA No. 11332.
IATF guidelines prohibit the operation of recreational venues and indoor and outdoor tourist attractions during the implementation of the modified enhanced community quarantine.
Illegal, reckless acts
“The acts of respondents … in illegally and recklessly opening and operating Gubat sa Ciudad on [Sunday] have also caused serious harm and damage not only to the community and to the city, but also to the concerted, overall efforts of the government to effectively manage and stamp out the COVID-19 pandemic. Respondents’ illegal and reckless acts have put at risk to COVID-19 the hundreds, if not thousands, of Filipinos,” the complaint read.
The city government said they had implemented contact tracing and testing on the resort’s guests.
The complaint added: “The damage and harm which respondents have caused—and continue to cause—are grave and with far-reaching implications. Respondents … should be held accountable and solidarily liable for corresponding the actual and compensatory damages.”
The penalty for noncooperation of persons or entities affected by a notifiable disease is fine of not less than P20,000 to not more than P50,000, or imprisonment of not less than one month to not more than six months, or both.
The city government earlier this week pressed administrative charges against Barangay 171 chair Romeo Rivera for his alleged failure to monitor the gathering at the resort within the village’s jurisdiction.
The home affairs office on Thursday asked patrons of the Caloocan City resort to come forward and get themselves tested for COVID-19.
Contact tracing difficult
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that out of 496 supposed guests of the Gubat sa Ciudad resort in Caloocan City, only 108 have so far been reached.
On Thursday’s Laging Handa public briefing, Malaya said that while none of the guests tested was infected with the coronavirus, it was important that all resort patrons were accounted for and tested for COVID-19.
“Contact tracing is difficult in this situation because of the extent of negligence of the resort management. In fact, information in its logbook or guest stubs is incomplete,” the DILG spokesperson said.
He explained that it was still unclear if there were only 496 persons who went there, which is based on the guest stubs issued by the resort. “We don’t know if there were guests who did not even bother to fill up stubs.”
“Out of those 496, only 232 wrote down their cell-phone numbers … Among the people we were able to get in touch with, 180 live in Caloocan City, 11 are from Bulacan, three from Malabon, five from Manila, 26 from Quezon City, and seven from Valenzuela City,” he said.
Malaya said that out of 108 persons who were contacted and agreed to be tested for COVID-19, 72 have already been swabbed and found to be negative from infection.
“I must admit that it’s really difficult to conduct contact tracing because of the negligence of the resort and it is only right that the management face piles of charges because of its numerous violations of IATF regulations and ordinances,” he said.
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