The chief of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Western Visayas, along with 27 other officers, were sacked after it was discovered that one of his staff was allowed to visit Boracay while waiting for the result of her coronavirus test, which later turned out to be positive.
Fired from his post ahead of his team was Western Visayas Director Senior Supt. Roderick Aguto, who was replaced by Fire Senior Supt. Jerry Candido, formerly the bureau’s director for logistics.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año told cable news channel ANC today that an investigation will also be launched to determine if there is truth to the allegation that other BFP employees who visited the island last week with the COVID-19 patient partied together and failed to practice social distancing.
“It will come out later what is the extent of the individuals’ participation or accountability so that is why we have this investigation team… We will weigh each person’s accountability… [to see if there is a] command responsibility of the senior officers who participated and for the other officers [who were involved],” Año said.
Aklan Acting Mayor Froilar Bautista told the media that the BFP employees went to Boracay from June 12 to 14 to attend a conference, but before they left, but did not identify the establishment where it was held. Before they left, the BSP staff reportedly threw a going-away to end their business trip.
The COVID-19 patient reportedly came into close contact with two of her BFP colleagues, but the other employees who visited the island with her might have also been infected with the coronavirus. All of the BFP employees involved in the Boracay incident are now currently quarantined at an undisclosed location.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat yesterday “decried” what the BFP employees had done, which occurred just a few days before the island’s scheduled reopening on June 16, which has pushed through despite the quarantine breach.
In a statement, Año said that “excuses won’t be tolerated,” especially during a pandemic, and urged law enforcers to set a “good example” among citizens.
“A breach of quarantine protocols is a wrong example,” Año said.
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This article, Visayas fire chief sacked after allowing COVID-19 positive staff to roam Boracay, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!