COVID-19 response exec defends dilapidated Batangas hotel as quarantine facility

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 01 2021 05:25 PM | Updated as of Jan 01 2021 06:24 PM

COVID-19 response exec defends dilapidated Batangas hotel as quarantine facility 1
Photos from Fr. Alberic Lazerna

MANILA — A government official has defended the hotel in Batangas described by some balikbayan Filipinos and travelers from abroad as dilapidated and seemingly abandoned, saying that it is “acceptable” as a quarantine facility.

COVID-19 response deputy chief Sec. Vince Dizon said in a Laging Handa press briefing on Thursday that Canyon Woods reached the government’s qualification as a designated quarantine facility. He said it is in use for some 3 months already.

Dizon said that some who felt that the facility is subpar were given the choice to transfer to their chosen hotels, but added that the travelers will have to shoulder their own expenses.

“‘Yong hotel na yun ay matagal na ginagamit natin para i-quarantine ang ating mga OFWs. Ito po ay isang maayos na hotel, hindi lang po ito 5-star hotel pero dahil nga po gusto nating tulungan ang ating mga kababayan... ito po ay libre na pinoprovide ng ating gobyerno,’” he explained during the virtual briefing. He added that half of the over 100 travelers remained in the hotel.

(The hotel has been used for quite some time to quarantine OFWs. This is a proper hotel even though it does not have a 5-star rating. But because we want to help returning passengers in the country, this is provided for free.)

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ABS-CBN News on Wednesday interviewed several travelers from abroad brought to Canyon Woods who said it does not have proper facilities for their quarantine. They also likened their experience to those people supposedly dumped in an “abandoned” hotel.

Some said their rooms did not have any running water, and toilets had slimy tiles. They also said they were only given one meal for the whole day.

But Dizon denied this, and claimed that the hotel is well-kept ready to accept accommodations, despite photos and statements from travelers brought there by the government.

He also showed photos of the hotel’s facilities, but there was no date stamp provided as to when the pictures were taken.

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Photos from the Laging Handa briefing via PTV-4

 

Photos from the Laging Handa briefing via PTV-4

 

Photos from the Laging Handa briefing via PTV-4

 

Photos from the Laging Handa briefing via PTV-4

 

“May iba pong mga pasahero na hindi po ata naging acceptable ang Canyon Woods sa kanila pero makikita naman po natin sa mga pictures na aktwal na pinapakita ngayon, although hindi siya 5-star hotel, hindi naman po madumi at maayos naman po at matagal na pong ginagamit ito ng mga kababayan nating umuwi,” he said.

(Some passengers deemed the facility as unacceptable but we could see in the actual photos that we are showing, that although it does not have a 5-star rating, it is not unclean and it is properly kept.)

ABS-CBN News also on Thursday reached out to Canyon Wood’s management for comment, but the staff said their office was closed during the holidays.

Dizon asked for patience and understanding from the travelers, and said the government is doing what it could to prevent the entry of the mutated COVID-19 strain in the Philippines.

“Mayroong lang pong iba sa ating mga pasahero na hindi po ata na-satisfy sa hotel. Naiintindihan naman po namin yun. Kaya po tayo nagbigay ng option sa kanila na kung mas gusto nila nang mas magandang hotel, kinakailangan po na sila na po ang mag-shoulder nun kaya nailipat sila,” he said.

“Humihingi po tayo ng pag-intindi at pag-unawa, pero hopefully po ay ito'y naayos na.”

(There were just some passengers who were unsatisfied. We understand it, that’s why we gave them the option to transfer to the hotel of their choice, provided that they will shoulder the expenses. We are asking for patience and understanding. We hope that the issue has been fixed.)

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