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Tourism department condemns Boracay Halloween party

THE Department of Tourism (DoT) has condemned the party that took place in Boracay on Oct. 31, saying such irresponsible action compromises efforts to revive the tourism industry. The DoT, which serves as co-vice chair of the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force for rehabilitation, said in a statement that it also “supports the recommendation of the Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation Management Group to Malay Mayor Frolibar S. Bautista to close down the erring establishment in view of its lacking of business permit and necessary clearances as determined by the authorities.” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat also asserted that while the “halloween party” involved an establishment that does not require a DOT-accreditation, all stakeholders must observe guidelines as the industry aims to strike a balance between ensuring health safety and resuming economic activities. “The jobs and livelihoods that were recently restored in these sites will be affected once again if an outbreak occurs in the area due to the LGU’s negligence,” Authorities are currently investigating the incident and looking for at least 100 individuals who took part in the party, according to Lt. Col. Joem Malong, Western Visayas police spokesperson. “The attendees were not wearing face masks nor were practicing social distancing,” Ms. Malong said, citing a video clip of the event. One of the organizers, Jack Bates, said the activity was a private birthday party although an investigation revealed they collected P250 from each of the participants as entrance fee. Mr. Bates was slapped with a P5,000 fine. Two other persons, identified as Aaron Vega and Vanessa Claire, were charged for wearing police uniforms as costumes during the party, which is illegal under Article 179 of the Revised Penal Code. — with a report from Emmanuel Tupas/PHILSTAR

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