DOT scolds Boracay full-moon revellers

MANILA, 26 November 2020: The Philippines Department of Tourism (DOT) is investigating a recent full-moon party in Boracay over violations of quarantine protocols, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat told the Philippines News Agency on Wednesday.

Held on the night of 31 October 31 until the early hours of 1 November the DOT chief called it “irresponsible” and has asked officials to close the venue stating it lacked a business permit and necessary clearances.

“The mass gathering was held at  Casa de Arte, Sitio Cagban, Barangay Manoc-Mano in Boracay around 1 km from the main Boracay ferry jetty.

In a video sent by the Tourism chief to the Philippine News Agency, partygoers were seen violating Covid-19 quarantine measures, such as physical distancing and mandatory wearing of face mask, which are mandatory since the island reopened to domestic tourists in October.

The organiser was reportedly fined PHP5,000 for hosting the event.

PNA said the DOT tourism secretary would visit Boracay 2 December to discuss the incident with the local government officials.

From June to September 2020, Boracay only accepted visitors from Western Visayas to closely monitor tourism activity in the area amid the pandemic. It officially reopened to local tourists, including those from areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), last October.

At the time of the reopening, Romulo-Puyat’s main message to travellers focussed on them being ‚Äúresponsible”. She said travellers could not be complacent, even on vacation, and must adhere to the health protocols.

“We want to restart tourism, but there’s still Covid, that’s why we have these reminders — observe physical distancing and wear a mask,” she told the news agency.

Thailand’s Phangan island, the home of raucous full-moon parties, cancelled them last March, and there are no signs they will resume any time soon, even though Covid-19 infections are less than 4,000 with a death toll of 60. In contrast, as of Friday, the Philippines recorded 422,915 cases and 8,215 death since the pandemic began.