The Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Puyat on Thursday slammed the Halloween party in Boracay Island amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a press statement, Puyat called described the mass gathering at Casa de Arte in Sitio Cagban, Barangay Manoc-Mano last October 31 as “irresponsible.”
The DOT chief stressed out that while the party occurred inside a private residence, the local government, stakeholders, and guests of the island must strictly observe the prescribed health and safety guidelines as determined by the Interagency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) amid the pandemic.
“We are appealing to our LGUs to please cooperate with us in the safe and responsible reopening of our tourist destinations. The jobs and livelihoods that were recently restored in these sites will be affected once again if an outbreak occurs in the area due to the LGU’s negligence,” Puyat said.
“We urge our LGUs to please take our health and safety protocols seriously,” she added.
Malay, Aklan Mayor Frolibar Bautista said Tuesday authorities were not able to notice the Halloween party immediately since it was far from the Boracay beach area.
He said the party’s organizers were fined P5,000 while authorities are still looking for another organizer.
Bautista added some foreigners who attended the party even wore policemen uniforms. He said complaints had been filed against them.
Authorities confirmed that criminal complaints were filed against the foreigners for allegedly violating Art. 179 of the Revised Penal Code (Illegal Use of Uniform).
DOT chief slams Boracay Halloween party
Mayor Bautista said the Island of Boracay remains COVID-19 free.
The national government opened Boracay Island to tourists to boost the tourism industry despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The reopening initially started in June for Aklan residents, then eventually opened for the entire Western Visayas residents.
The staff of Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Region 6, including an employee whose pending COVID-19 test later returned positive, hosted a “despedida party” in Boracay.
As a result, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año relieved the director of BFP Region VI and its 28 personnel who went and held the party.