THE fact-finding investigation conducted by the Department of Education (DepEd) 7 revealed that it was the local government of Madridejos in Bantayan Island that requested the Madridejos National High School to ask its students to welcome participants of the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo SMB Escapade during their stop in the town last Nov. 27, 2020.
The students’ presence during the tourism program of the Provincial Government prompted the DepEd 7 and the DepEd Province Division to conduct separate probes.
“The principal agreed for the senior high school learners to welcome with parents’ consent. As to liability and accountability, that is what we are looking into. That’s why it’s at our legal (right) now,” DepEd 7 Director Salustiano Jimenez said in a text message to SunStar Cebu.
He said only one school in Madridejos was involved in the incident.
Mass gatherings have been allowed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease, but limited to only 50 percent of the venue capacity in areas under modified general community quarantine status. Minimum public health standards must still be observed such as the mandatory wearing of protective face masks and face shields and social distancing.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Legal Service is also reviewing the findings of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 on its probe on Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque’s alleged violation of Covid-19 health protocol. Roque attended the event in Madridejos together with other local government officials, including Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and Madridejos Mayor Salvador dela Fuente.
Michael Braga, DILG 7 information officer, said if police findings require more information or further investigation from DILG 7, the regional department will provide assistance.
The DILG central office said the police noted that Roque and local government officials “were able to control the situation by advising the audience to return home and leave the venue.”
The DILG also said the PRO 7 probe revealed that only four confirmed Covid-19 cases were recorded in Bantayan Island during the course of the event and there was “no increase” in the number of confirmed cases after the event.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año advised government officials to abide by the recommendations of the police to avoid the same incident from happening again while the pandemic is ongoing. (WBS)