Hotel gets 3-month suspension for letting guest jump quarantine | Inquirer News
DOT ACTION VS BERJAYA

Hotel gets 3-month suspension for letting guest jump quarantine

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
05:52 AM January 05, 2022

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has suspended the accreditation of Berjaya Makati Hotel for its failure to stop a guest under mandatory quarantine from leaving the hotel premises to party, only to return a few days later positive for COVID-19.

Apart from the three-month suspension of its DOT accreditation as a quarantine facility, Berjaya’s permit as a multiple-use hotel was also revoked, the DOT said in its Jan. 3 decision released to the media on Wednesday.

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The tourism department also ordered the hotel to pay the P13,200 fine, which was equivalent to twice the rate of its most expensive room.

Berjaya was given 15 working days to appeal the decision.

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The penalties stemmed from the actions of returning Filipino Gwyneth Chua, who was seen at a party in Poblacion, Makati City, on Dec. 23, the day after she arrived from the United States.

Under the existing guidelines on returning Filipinos, she was supposed to be on a five-day mandatory quarantine in the hotel upon arrival in the Philippines and undergo a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test on the fifth day. Only after testing negative for COVID-19 can she be released from quarantine.

On Tuesday, the Philippine National Police also filed a criminal complaint against Chua and eight other people, including her parents, who allegedly helped her skip the mandatory isolation requirement.

Admission

Berjaya, in its response to the show-cause order issued by the DOT, admitted that Chua was able to leave the hotel just 15 minutes after checking in.

Citing its closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage, Berjaya said Chua checked in at the hotel at around 11:30 p.m. on Dec. 22. She also signed health and safety guidelines, acknowledging that she was required to strictly stay in the room until she could present her Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) certificate and negative RT-PCR test results.

However, Chua was seen leaving the hotel around 11:45 p.m and returned to the hotel around 9 p.m. on Dec. 25.

According to the DOT, Berjaya confirmed that Chua took the RT-PCR test on Dec. 26 (the fifth day of her quarantine), and the result, which showed she was positive for COVID-19, was released the next day.

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No effort to report

“Neither did the hotel security personnel nor the front lobby call her attention, and neither was there any effort to report the incident to the [BOQ], even after her return three days later,” the DOT said in its decision signed by Christopher Morales, officer in charge-undersecretary for tourism regulation, coordination and resource generation.

“It behooves any responsible accredited tourism establishment to ensure proper observance of quarantine laws, rules and regulations and proper monitoring of their guests who are under strict instructions and conditions of their stay,” it added.

The DOT stressed that Berjaya’s statement in its response and public apology “is an admission of not just the facts of the incident but (also) of their own lapses in their responsibility” as an accredited establishment of the DOT.

Berjaya, in a statement posted on its Facebook account, appealed for kindness, saying it does not tolerate violators amid public concerns on the establishment’s protocols.

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