Fully vaxxed people visiting Intramuros to get incentives – DOT

Robie de Guzman   •   November 12, 2021   •   314

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Friday announced it will be granting incentives for fully vaccinated individuals who will visit the tourist site Walled City of Intramuros in Manila.

In a statement, the DOT said the move is part of its efforts to support the country’s vaccination program and to encourage more people to get their COVID-19 jabs.

“From November 15 to 30, 2021, individuals who have completed their vaccination within the same period may enter Fort Santiago free of charge,” the DOT said.

“During this period, fully vaccinated individuals visiting Fort Santiago and Baluarte San Diego will receive free Beep cards, with a cap of 50 guests per day,” it added.

Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat hopes that the move will encourage more people to receive their shots, adding that incentives and loosening restrictions for the fully vaccinated will help facilitate travel and help tourism destinations and businesses bounce back faster.

“The Department is doing whatever it can to aid the government’s vaccination program. Granting incentives is one way to encourage the undecided to oblige in this nationwide effort,” Puyat said.

To avail of the incentives, the DOT said guests must present their vaccination card or certificate (with indicative dates) at the entrance gates.

However, the DOT clarified that those who have not yet completed their vaccination may still enter both Fort Santiago and Baluarte San Diego by paying the P75 entrance fee for regular visitors, and P50 for discounted eligible visitors such as seniors, students and PWDs.

As early as September 14, the DOT announced that 100 percent of IA workers, including its outsourced security and janitorial staff, have been fully vaccinated.

DOT suspends, fines hotel in ‘Poblacion Girl’ fiasco

Maris Federez   •   January 5, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) has suspended the accreditation of a Makati hotel and revoked its permit as a multiple-use hotel amid the “Poblacion Girl” debacle.

In a statement, the DOT said the Berjaya Hotel Makati is suspended “for its failure to stop a guest from breaking quarantine rules, leaving the premises to party, and only to return a few days later to test positive for Covid-19” which resulted in her having infected at least 12 others.

The DOT said that it also fined Berjaya Hotel Makati an equivalent to twice the rack rate of its most expensive room.

The Department’s Tourism Regulation, Coordination, and Resource Generation approved the penalties recommended by the DOT- National Capital Region, the statement said.

Berjaya Hotel has 15 working days to appeal the DOT decision.

Copy of the department’s decision has also been given to the Department of Health (DOH), Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ),  One-Stop-Shop-Management of Returning Overseas Filipino of the Department of Transportation -Office of Transportation Security (DOTr- OTS), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and Makati local government unit (LGU).

The DOT said that while Berjaya Hotel assured the department that their guests follow strict protocols, it later apologized in news reports and social media for its failure to report the “quarantine skipping incident” to the BOQ.

The statements made by the hotel management and its public apology were “an admission of not just the facts of the incident but as well as their lapses in their responsibility as an accredited establishment of the Department of Tourism,” the decision said.

This case stemmed from the actions of returning Filipino Gwyneth Chua, identified in social media as “Poblacion Girl” because she was seen in Poblacion, Makati City when she was supposed to be in the quarantine hotel.

Chua arrived in the country on December 22 and checked in at Berjaya Hotel at around 11:30 pm. A CCTV footage showed her leaving the hotel at 11:45 pm and was later on seen on social media partying in a bar in Poblacion. —/mbmf

PNP to conduct random inspections in quarantine hotels

Maris Federez   •   January 4, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to conduct random visits in quarantine hotels.

According to DILG spokesperson Usec. Jonathan Malaya said Interior Secretary Eduardo Año ordered the PNP to conduct random checks in quarantine hotels because the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) lack the manpower to guard the 150 accredited quarantine hotels in the country including the 6 to 8 facilities in Metro Manila.

“Siya po ay nagbigay din po ng direktiba na bisitahin o magkaroon ng random visit sa iba’t ibang quarantine hotels sa buong bansa ang PNP.

During random inspections, the police will ask for the list of those who should be at a quarantine hotel through the BOQ.

If that person is not there, he or she will be immediately investigated and cases will be filed against that person, and also those who are involved in the quarantine breach.

Meanwhile, several contacts of the COVID-19 positive returning overseas Filipino who skipped quarantine after returning home from the United States of America have also been infected with coronavirus disease, Malaya said.

However, it is still unknown what coronavirus variant hit the quarantine violator.

Also, based on the initial investigation of the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), the hotel wherein the balikbayan was supposed to quarantine is responsible for the quarantine breach.

“Duon po sa kaniyang close contacts na 15, 7 na po ang nagpositibo sa COVID-19. While dun naman po sa 19 secondary contacts niya, ay isa na po ang nagpositibo,” Malaya said.

“So talaga pong naging superspreader event yung paglabas pasok nitong Poblacion Girl sa kaniyang quarantine hotel,” he added. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

DOH, DOT probing claims female from US skipped quarantine rules to attend party

Robie de Guzman   •   December 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Tourism (DOT) on Thursday said they are now investigating claims that a female traveler from the United States violated quarantine protocols and attended parties in Makati earlier this month.

In separate statements, the DOH and DOT said they are verifying the report in coordination with concerned agencies.

“The DOT is in touch with the concerned authorities to validate reports regarding an individual who was allowed to leave a quarantine hotel before finishing the prescribed quarantine period,” it said.

“The hotel in question is currently being investigated and has been served a Notice to Explain (NTE), directing the establishment to submit its response to the allegations within three days,” it added.

The DOH said that non-adherence to COVID-19 guidelines and policies constitutes a violation of Republic Act No 11331 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act of 2018.

The law provides fines and imprisonment, as well as administrative penalties such as suspension or revocation of accreditation depending on the gravity of the offense.

“The DOH, the Bureau of Quarantine, the Department of Tourism, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Department of Transportation, and the Philippine National Police shall ensure that violators shall be dealt with in accordance with the law,” the agency said.

The DOH also appealed to the public to not become complacent and “deliberately put others in danger” by violating protocols.

“The entire nation worked so hard to keep our cases down. Following minimum public health standards however comfortable at times, our healthcare and frontline workers working overtime to save lives, our LGUs, and the rest of the government carefully crafting policies so that we can balance health and economy – these are just some of the sacrifices we make so we can recover from the pandemic, return to work and safely open up schools and establishments,” it said.

The agency also reminded the public to exercise caution in joining gatherings, particularly when it will involve individuals who have recent travel or exposure history.

“We also ask LGUs to strictly implement current guidelines. Keeping cases low and hospital admissions manageable is a whole-of-society effort,” it said.

“The DOH encourages the public to report individuals, establishments, or LGUs violating quarantine protocols to local authorities to ensure its proper implementation and further prevent transmission of COVID-19,” it added.

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