The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will compile a list of alleged hotels that refused to cooperate with the Department of Tourism's probe of quarantine skippers.
Hotels that are found to have failed to comply or violated the mandatory protocols of the DOT, the Department of Health (DOH), or the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) may face "criminal penalties" such as fines and imprisonment, the DOT said in a statement.
Depending on the weight of the offence, hotels may face "administrative penalties" such as suspension or revocation of their DOT accreditation.
"The DOT strongly reminds all travelers and establishments to strictly observe the prescribed guidelines by health experts and authorities," it said, based on the report of PNA.
This started since Gwyneth Chua, a returning Filipina from the United States, left the hotel she's staying at to party in a restaurant in Barangay Poblacion, Makati City, when she's supposed to be on quarantine.
A few days later, Chua, including several partygoers and some restaurant staff, were found positive of Covid-19.
On Thursday, the Makati City government closed the Berjaya Makati Hotel over the incident.
In an advisory, the city government said the hotel violated health and safety Protocols issued by the DOT, DOH, and the IATF [Section 36(h) of DOT Administrative Order No. 2021-004-A].
It 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.
"No legal basis"
Meanwhile, the Berjaya Makati Hotel's management said in a statement that 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," it said.
"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 added.
Furthermore, 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.