BORACAY ISLAND–As the Covid Task Force is fasttracking the efforts for the contact tracing of those who had been exposed to the female BFP staff named as Covid’s WV 144, members of the Malay Covid Task Force are considering the possibility that she stayed in another hotel and not at Hue Hotel where all the other BFP personnel had checked in.
This became very apparent upon the recovery of the Visitor Health Declaration Forms by the Malay PNP aiding in the investigation of the case, which accordingly, showed that the 26-year-old BFP personnel was not in any way listed as guest at the Hue Hotel.
In the ongoing investigation, the Malay PNP headed by Police Colonel Jonathan Pablito, found out that there were 24 BFP personnel listed as guests to the hotel comprised of 16 male and 8 female BFP officials and personnel that included the now sacked BFP Regional Director, Sr. Supt. Roderick Aguto.
In the statements gathered by the investigating team, it was found out that the BFP officials checked in two occasions, one in June 11 wherein the first group arrived at the hotel and were billeted into four rooms. The second group arrived on June 12 and are billeted in the additional 2 rooms that the BFP requested.
Management of Hue Hotel claimed that by granting the visiting BFP officials’ free accommodation, they are giving the Boracay Inter-Agency task Force (BIATF) a favor.
BIATF conducted a meeting on the island on June 11 to address the effect on tourism spawned by the pandemic. It was led by BIATF officials that include Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, and Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
BFP NEVER TOOK PART IN THE MEETING
But in a press statement, DENR Director Natividad Bernardino, who organized the BIATF meeting in her capacity as general manager of the Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation Management Group (BIARMG), said that the female employee of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Western Visayas who tested positive for COVID-19 never took part in the meeting of the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) held on the island on June 11.
“No BFP representative was in the meeting nor was the agency invited to the meeting because it is not a member of the BIATF,” she noted.
“I was given specific instructions by Secretary Cimatu to limit the number of participants in the meeting and to only have a small group,” Bernardino pointed out.
She added: “Secretary Cimatu also repeatedly emphasized to strictly observe physical distancing. We fully complied with all those.”
According to Bernardino, there were only 15 persons in the main meeting room, including the three secretaries, although its normal capacity is more than 200 persons.
The DENR official added that strict health and safety protocols were observed from the arrival of the attendees, the actual meeting and when the officials went around the island for site inspections.
“Because we wanted to safeguard the island and its people from COVID-19, we had the participants pass through all protocols and we limited the number of attendees coming in the island for the meeting,” Bernardino said, adding that those who could not be physically present joined through video conference.
As of presstime, investigators are still facing a blankwall on where WV 114 could have stayed while on the island. Allegedly, she was with 2 other fellows whose identity are also being determined at the moment.
Colonel Pablito, however, said he already made coordination with security managers of all resorts and hotels on Boracay to find out where she and her companions went or checked-in during the June 12-14 period.
He said there is a strong indication that the Covid-infected BFP staff hid her true identity upon signing the Visitor Declaration Form as she knows she is violating quarantine rules. WV 144 was in a quarantine facility in Iloilo for a 14-day quarantine but had decided to cut it short to go to Boracay.
Right now, the Malay IATF is seeking the support of the Regional Inter Agency Task Force to aid them convince WV 144 reveal the truth about her travel to the island to immediately finish the contract tracing and ensure that everyone she had been in contact with could be placed under isolation and quarantine in order to arrest the disease from spreading on Boracay.
By Jonathan Cabrera