DILG orders random checks on quarantine hotels after protocol breach

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 03 2022 01:07 PM | Updated as of Jan 03 2022 02:20 PM

Police patrol the streets reminding people of social distancing at Divisoria in Manila on Dec. 9, 2021. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File
Police patrol the streets reminding people of social distancing at Divisoria in Manila on Dec. 9, 2021. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — The interior department on Monday said it ordered the police to randomly inspect hotels to ensure that travelers from abroad stay isolated, after a Filipina who arrived from the US skipped her quarantine to party.

The tourism department and quarantine bureau lack manpower to guard some 150 accredited hotels, including 6 to 8 facilities located in Metro Manila, said Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya. 

"Tutulong na po ang DILG at ang Philippine National Police sa DOT at sa Bureau of Quarantine para po malaman na natin kung may mga naski-skip nga o nagkakaroon ng absentee quarantine," he said in a televised public briefing. 

(The DILG and the Philippine National Police will help the DOT and Bureau of Quarantine find out if people are skipping or doing absentee quarantine.)

During random checks, police will ask for a list of those who should be at a quarantine hotel, Malaya said. 

"Kung wala po iyong tao doon ay kaagad-agad pong iimbestigahan at sasampahan po ng kaso iyong hotel at iyong indibidwal na skipped quarantine at lahat po ng mga tao na may kinalaman sa ganoong modus operandi," he continued. 

(If that person is not there, he or she will be immediately investigated and cases would be filed against the hotel, the individual that skipped quarantine, and all those involved in this type of modus operandi.)

Malaya noted the case of traveler Gwyneth Chua who arrived at her quarantine hotel last Dec. 22 at 11:23 p.m., only to leave less than 30 minutes later to go home. 

The interior department earlier said she attended a party the next day, tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 27, and was transferred to a different isolation facility on Dec. 29. 

"And lumalabas po sa initial na imbestigasyon ng PNP-CIDG, na may kinalaman po ang hotel sa kaniyang paglabas at pagpasok," said Malaya. 

(It appears in the initial investigation of the PNP-CIDG that the hotel had something to do with her going in and out of the hotel.)

Malaya said authorities have yet to determine which COVID-19 variant Chua caught. Seven of her 15 close contacts and at least one secondary contact have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, he added. 

"Talaga pong naging super spreader event iyong paglabas-pasok nitong Poblacion girl sa kaniyang quarantine hotel," the official said, referring to the hip Makati district where Chua partied. 

(Poblacion girl's trips back and forth to her quarantine hotel really became a super spreader event.) 

The tourism department on Monday said another Filipino was caught violating quarantine protocols after posting on social media about going for a massage session. 

While the interior department has yet to get information on this, Malaya said, “Definitely, we will investigate para po maging proactive na ang ating pamahalaan.” 

(We will investigate so our government can be proactive.) 

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Video courtesy of PTV