In the wake of an incident involving a returning OFW

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has called on all accredited accommodation facilities in the region to follow all quarantine protocols and other minimum public health standards set by the national government to prevent further spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

This after the DOT Central Office together with the Department of Health issued a stern warning amid a quarantine violation that happened in Makati City where a returning overseas Filipino worker from the United States skipped from the hotel where she was quarantined to attend a party.

The violator was tested positive with COVID-19 including some of her close contacts who were present during the party.

Under DOH-DOT Advisory No. 1 Series of 2021 issued on December 31, 2021, it mandated that all DOT-Accredited accommodation establishments shall comply with the necessary testing and quarantine protocols of their guests as prescribed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

Quarantine guests shall be strictly monitored and are not be allowed to check-out of the hotel, leave its premises, or commingle with other guests until the release of their negative RT-PCR test or upon clearance by the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ).

Under the advisory, also prohibited is the isolation or accommodating of confirmed COVID-19 positive guests in DOT-accredited quarantine hotels, multiple-use hotels, and regular Hotels.

Violators of quarantine protocols and other minimum public health standards may face criminal liability under Section 9 of Republic Act 11332, otherwise known as the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act, and its Implementing Rules and Regulations, which mandates the cooperation of everybody in a public health crisis.

Violators may also be penalized with a fine from P20,000 to P50,000 or imprisonment of not less than one month but not more than six months, or both, depending on the discretion of the proper court.

In the region, 21 accommodation facilities were identified as either quarantine or isolation facility.

“Upon initial inquiry of the DOT8 with other establishments, majority are willing to convert into isolation or quarantine facility if needed in order to help the government manage the spread of COVID-19,” Tourism Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes said. (ROEL T. AMAZONA)