BFP staff with COVID-19 attended 'despedida' party in Boracay: tourism chief

Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 17 2020 04:10 PM | Updated as of Jun 17 2020 05:55 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) personnel held a "despedida party" in Boracay last week, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said Wednesday, after one of the bureau's staff tested positive for the coronavirus.

The group said they were attending a conference of the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force from June 12 to 14 but the government body had already left the island by then, according to Puyat.

"Ang nakakagalit ay alam naman nila na bawal at nagsabi pa na kasama daw namin eh umalis na kami noon. 24 silang pumunta. Bawal 'yon," she said.

(What's worse is they know it was prohibited and they said they were with us but we had already left. Some 24 personnel were there. That's prohibited.)

"Nakakainis kasi excited na lahat ng taga-Boracay na magbubukas na sila for Western Visayas. Lahat nag-co-comply. Ingat na ingat sila sa protocols 'tas mangyayari ito dahil sa kapabayaan dahil sa gusto lang nilang mag-party."

(It's infuriating because everyone in Boracay is excited to reopen for Western Visayas. Everyone was complying. They were careful with the protocols then this happened because they wanted to party.)

Puyat said the tourism department would revoke the hotel's license to operate because it did not have permission to operate at the time as the island reopened on Tuesday, June 16, for tourists coming from Western Visayas. 

All BFP personnel, hotel staff and those they came in contact with have been placed under quarantine, she added.

Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has relieved Fire Senior Supt. Roderick Aguto from his post as regional director of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Region 6.

“We will never tolerate any wrongdoing by our BFP personnel or any other DILG personnel for that matter because lives are at stake here. Panahon ng pandemya ngayon at hindi puwede ang mga palusot (There's a pandemic and you cannot make excuses). Moreover, as law enforcers, we must set a good example to our people and the breach of quarantine protocols sets a very bad example,” he said.

Fire Senior Supt. Jerry Candido, the Director for Logistics of BFP-National Headquarters (NHQ), has been appointed as officer-in-charge of BFP Region 6.