Frasco: Camotes beach event has RIATF, LGU permits

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THE event that culminated in a beach party in Camotes Islands, Cebu on July 10, 2021 was covered with all the necessary permits and approvals from the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) and San Francisco Municipal Government.

This was stressed by Cebu Fifth District Representative Duke Frasco in a statement Friday, August 20, in response to an anonymous complaint filed against him and some officials and Philippine National Police Chief Guillermo Eleazar’s directive for local police to investigate the incident.

The complaint, dated August 13 and which was sent by an anonymous person to the Department of the Interior and Local Government, alleged that the event may have "caused or contributed" to the spike in Covid-19 cases in Camotes.

A video of the event showed some people not wearing face masks and not observing physical distancing while partying.

The anonymous complainant also alleged that the event was held without clearance from the municipality and the barangay.

But Frasco said the event was held with full coordination with the Municipal Government of San Francisco, police, and barangays officials, tanods and health workers to ensure that health and safety protocols are implemented.

He said the beach party happened during the TeamFrasco Friendship Ride/Run when Cebu was under the more relaxed modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

In compliance with IATF, Cebu Province, and local rules, Frasco said all the 667 bikers and runners who attended the event were even required to fill out health declaration forms and undergo temperature checks before the event, and wear masks during the event

“All participants were continuously reminded by the organizers before and during the event to follow necessary health/safety protocols and guidelines including wearing of masks and social distancing,” he said.

The event, he added, was held at the public white sand beach in Barangay Santiago, San Francisco, whose open air beachfront has a capacity of approximately 25,000 people.

Under the IATF guidelines on events and gatherings under MGCQ status, up to 50 percent of the venue capacity is allowed.

“Hence, a maximum of 12,500 people are allowed for an event held at the public beach. With only 667 registered participants, plus spectators and event organizers, the event clearly fell below the maximum allowable MGCQ threshold,” said Frasco.

As to the claim that the event might have caused the increase in Covid-19 cases in Camotes, Frasco said data from the Department of Health and the local government unit (LGU) show that from July 11 to 25, “there was no significant increase of positive cases.”

“On the contrary, the 15-day period subsequent the event showed either zero new cases or single digit cases, with most days having only one or two new cases,” he said.

Contact tracing records also showed that none of those who attended the event tested positive for coronavirus.

The lawmaker said he has not received a copy of the “anonymous complaint” filed against him nor been directed to answer the same as of August 20.

He assured, though, that he will support the police investigation and will cooperate with the agencies involved. (Laureen Mondoñedo-Ynot)

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