Quarantine skippers bribe to escape protocols: DILG chief

Some people under quarantine have paid hotel personnel or escaped through fire exits, breaching the health protocols set by the government, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año bared on Monday.

Año said he received reports that family members and relatives were the ones pressuring people under quarantine.

“Napre-pressure din sila na gumawa ng paraan so nagbabayad sila minsan sa personnel ng hotel o kaya tumatakas through fire exit… Meron. Totoo ‘yan (They are being pressured to skip quarantine so there are times when they bribe hotel personnel or escape through the fire exit… It’s happening),” he said in a radio interview.

Año noted that the Bureau of Quarantine had filed cases against hotels violating quarantine protocols.

“Meron, totoo ‘yan, ang BoQ naman merong mga kinasuhan silang hotel na nag-violate ng ganyan, low key lang, hindi lang talaga na media, at ako mismo may mga nahuli akong ganyan na umuwi ng ganitong lugar, nagmamayabang pa, so ni-report ko dun sa BOQ that very day, dinampot uli ‘yung mga tao (That’s true. The BOQ has filed charges against some hotels that violated the protocols. It’s low key and were never reported to the media. I knew of some persons who arrived at a certain place without undergoing quarantine and was even proud about it so I reported to the BOQ that day and the person was picked up),” he said.

Año said a similar case, that of a certain Gwyneth Chua, who arrived from the United States and supposedly under quarantine, left Berjaya Makati Hotel and attended a party at a nearby restaurant.

Año said all persons who committed violations in the incident would be held accountable.

Meanwhile, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) is preparing the case that would be filed against Chua.

“We are preparing for the filing of a criminal case (against the woman who skipped quarantine),” said CIDG Director, Maj. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro.

The woman will be facing charges in violation of Republic Act 11332 or “An Act Providing Policies and Prescribing Procedures on Surveillance and Response to Notifiable Diseases, Epidemics, and Health Events of Public Health Concern, and Appropriating Funds Therefor, Repealing for the Purpose Act No. 3573, Otherwise Known as the “Law on Reporting of Communicable Diseases.”

Año directed Philippine National Police chief, Gen. Dionardo Carlos, to deploy police units to the various quarantine hotels to conduct surprise inspections to determine if all individuals subject to quarantine are actually staying in the hotels.

“The DILG through the PNP will help the DOH-BOQ and the DOT in monitoring all individuals subject to quarantine. All those found absent from the facilities will be charged together with the hotel or facility management and staff in cahoots with these individuals,” he said.

He said the police would request the names of those subject to quarantine from the DOH-BOQ and would physically check their presence in the hotels.

“We will strictly comply the quarantine hotels that no one should escape. We will send them show-cause orders when they violate and we will strictly monitor the arrivals of returning overseas Filipinos. We will make sure that they are accounted one by one in our isolation facilities,” Año said.

Chua admitted skipping the five-day mandatory quarantine due to “connections”. She later tested positive for Covid-19.

Some of Chua’s companions during the party tested positive for Covid-19.

DILG spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said that based on the initial probe made by the CIDG, the hotel has liability for Chua’s actions.

“Out of the 15 of her companions, seven have already tested positive for Covid-19 while of the 19 secondary contacts, one of them tested positive. It has become a superspreader event and it appeared from the initial investigation by the PNP CIDG that the hotel was involved in the actions made by Chua,” Malaya said in a Laging Handa briefing on Monday.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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