Baguio city gov’t orders hotel to explain health protocol violations but mayor tells celebrity party host ‘not to worry’ over probe

THE Baguio City government has ordered the hotel that served as a venue for a party where attendees breached health protocols to explain why it should not be penalized, but the event’s host has been told by the mayor, who was among the guests, “not to worry.”  “The city government gives hotel 72 hours to explain why it should not be sanctioned over celebrity party protocol breach,” it said in a post on its official Facebook page. The Department of Tourism (DoT), in a statement on Tuesday afternoon, also said its regional office is already investigating the incident and a “Notice to Explain” has been issued to the hotel. On the other hand, Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong who attended the party along with his wife, said the birthday party’s host, celebrity Tim Yap, would be given consideration in light of his “contributions to Baguio City.” “Don’t you worry about it. Your contributions to Baguio City, promoting, you’ve been saying good words about Baguio, the help that you’ve extended to our artists — we’re considering all of this,” Mr. Magalong narrated in mixed English and Filipino in an interview with ABS-CBN. The mayor, a former police officer and the designated contact tracing ‘czar’ of the national government, cited that Mr. Yap’s group purchased several local artworks at an exhibit. In a separate streamed interview with the local media on Wednesday, Mr. Magalong said the people at the party who will be proven to have violated protocols will be “fined.” Mr. Yap, in an interview with CNN Philippines, apologized over the incident saying his intent was to promote tourism. — MSJ

Senate committee approves bill for establishment of quarantine facilities per region

THE Senate health panel has approved a measure that will mandate and fund the establishment of quarantine facilities across the country. Senate Bill No. 2023, the proposed Quarantine Facilities Act, provides that fully equipped quarantine facilities be built in every region. Funding for these facilities will also cover the supply of adequate food, clothing, means of communication and competent health care for the temporary dwellers. The facilities will be managed by the Department of Health (DoH), in coordination with the local government units (LGUs). Funding will be sourced from the annual budget of the DoH. The Health department will also be tasked to determine the use of the facilities in the absence of health emergencies. A few local governments have already built permanent quarantine facilities in response to the coronavirus pandemic, but most have temporary units using existing structures or container vans, including those set up by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). — Charmaine A. Tadalan