Tim Yap on viral Baguio party: We followed protocols, with goal to promote tourism

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 26 2021 09:21 PM | Updated as of Jan 27 2021 07:21 AM

Tim Yap on viral Baguio party: We followed protocols, with goal to promote tourism 1
Tim Yap celebrated his birthday with a party at The Manor in Baguio City on January 17, and has since drawn criticism amid the ongoing pandemic. Instagram: @officialtimyap

MANILA — Events host and social media personality Tim Yap said on Tuesday that a party he had organized and held in Baguio City — which subsequently drew criticism over the weekend amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases — followed protocols set by the local government, and in fact only sought to promote its reopened tourism.

Yap held the party on January 17 at The Manor at Camp John Hay, and, as seen in videos that circulated on social media, had dozens of guests who did not appear to observe physical distancing.

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On Tuesday, as images and clips of the party went viral online, the Department of Tourism in the Cordillera Administrative Region said it has launched an investigation.

In an interview with ABS-CBN News’ Jeff Canoy on Tuesday night, Yap said he “wanted to assure the public that we really followed all the LGU protocols” before they traveled to Baguio.
 
“Alam po natin na ang Baguio is napaka-strict sa kanilang protocols and they will not allow anyone na umakyat ng Baguio na positive,” he said.

Yap explained that he, his companions, and all the guests at the party tested negative for COVID-19 prior to the scheduled event.

He also secured the necessary permits from the local government to hold the party, Yap said.

During the event, all those in attendance wore a mask, according to Yap.

Explaining clips where some guests were seen dancing without masks on, Yap narrated that they only removed the protective covering when it was time for dinner.

“Dahil nga dinner, buffet, kakain na sila so tinanggal nila maskara nila. Pagkatapos noon, pumasok ‘yung mga dancers na mag-community dancing, so hindi nila nasuot mask nila. Sumayaw sila doon kaya ‘yun ang nakikita natin na kumakalat sa social media,” he said.

‘FOR TOURISM’

Holding the party in Baguio, notably featuring its native crafts and culture, was intended to help the city’s tourism recover, Yap said.

“Ang pakay po noon is to promote Baguio as a destination. Sa akin, yun ang hangarin ko talaga. Para mag-push ng local tourism. Kung makikita mo social media ko, lahat talaga, ‘yun ang ginagawa ko for the past few months. I’m discovering and rediscovering iba’t ibang parte ng Pilipinas na sana ma-discover ng ating mga kababayan,” he said.

“It was really a gathering to promote local tourism, crafts of Baguio, [its] arts and culture… Ang talagang goal namin, ang aim namin is to help restart the economy, reopen the economy at ma-promote ang local tourism.”

Yap then addressed criticisms of holding an opulent gathering during a pandemic, circling back to his clarification that he and all the attendees had all tested negative.

“It was never my intention to offend anyone. I would never do anything na makaka-endanger kahit sinuman. And siyempre… pag lahat kayo negative, you feel safe with each other,” he said.

“Siguro nagkulang ako na paalalahanin na magsuot ng mask dahil may lumabas na mga letrato at ng mga videos na walang mask. Again, I would never endanger anyone.

“We are all responsible citizens of this country and all we want to do really is to help restart the economy. We opened the economy and the push for local tourism,” Yap said.

Yap said he is “fully cooperative” with government agencies, to help “form best practices” during the quarantine periods.

“Kung ano kailangan gawin, nandito ako para mag-cooperate,” he said. — With a report from Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News