The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Thursday asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for a list of hotels that have allegedly refused to cooperate on their probe of quarantine skippers.
In a statement, the DOT said those found to have made violations or have failed to comply with the mandatory protocols of the DOT, the Department of Health (DOH), or the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) may face “criminal penalties” such as fines and/or imprisonment.
In addition, these hotels may face “administrative penalties” such as suspension or revocation of their DOT accreditation depending on the gravity of the offense.
“The DOT strongly reminds all travelers and establishments to strictly observe the prescribed guidelines by health experts and authorities,” it said.
This, after a certain Gwyneth Chua, who returned from the United States, was found to have checked in at Berjaya Makati Hotel on Dec. 22, 2021, and left a day after for a party at a restaurant in Barangay Poblacion, Makati City.
Chua, several partygoers, and staff of the restaurant were later found positive of Covid-19.
On Thursday, the Makati City government closed the hotel over the incident.
In an advisory, the city government said the hotel violated health and safety Protocols issued by the DOT, Department of Health, and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Emerging Infectious Diseases [Section 36(h) of DOT Administrative Order No. 2021-004-A].
The establishment also failed to comply with Republic Act 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.
The closure order against the hotel came just a day after the DOT suspended its accreditation and ordered it to pay fines.
Hotel cries foul
In a statement, the Berjaya Makati Hotel’s management said the local government’s move has no legal basis.
“For one, the DOT order is not yet final as the hotel will appeal it within the fifteen-day period it is given. Meanwhile, the suspension is not in effect. Secondly, there is no law that penalizes a hotel for not reporting a guest who jumps quarantine. There is nothing in RA (11322) that is applicable to the hotel. Thirdly, we must be accorded due process and be allowed to explain before any penalty is imposed. We have not been given our day in court by the Makati City Hall,” it said.
It added that the closure order will affect guests who are currently undergoing quarantine.
“We have 18 guests who have tested positive and who have yet to be pulled out by the Bureau of Quarantine, and 80 who are in the middle of their quarantine. We also have around 20 quarantine guests per week coming in and have paid in advance. The inconvenience to the public is incalculable, unnecessary, and preventable,” the hotel said.
Source: Philippines News Agency