DoT finds City Garden Hotel in Makati liable

Published January 14, 2021, 6:07 PM

by Hanah Tabios

The Department of Tourism (DoT), in a resolution released today, has found the City Garden Grand Hotel (CGGH) in Makati City liable for the “offense of gross and evident bad faith in dealing with clients/fraudulent solicitation of business” after accommodating guests for leisure purposes despite being a quarantine facility.

CGGH is the accommodation establishment where Philippine Airlines flight attendant Christine Angelica Dacera was found lifeless in one of its rooms last Jan. 1.

The DoT said the hotel has made “false, deceptive, or misleading claims or statements for the purpose of soliciting business from clients under Section 13.2 (c) of DoT Memorandum Circular No. 2018-03.”

“Upon investigation, the CGGH was found to have misrepresented itself to the public as being allowed to accommodate guests for leisure or staycation purposes despite being a quarantine facility. Under DoT Administrative Order No. 2020-002-C, hotels operating as quarantine facilities are prohibited from accepting guests for leisure purposes,” the DoT said.

In the course of the investigation, the DoT-National Capital Region (DoT-NCR) considered other evidence which were not limited to the circumstances surrounding the incident on New Year’s Eve when Dacera’s group reportedly gathered for a “party.”

“The pieces of evidence showed that even prior to the incident and until now, the CGGH is marketing packages to accept leisure guests and never indicated that it is a quarantine hotel,” it added.

The hotel has been meted a six-month suspension of DoT accreditation, a fine of P10,000, and its Certificate Authority to Operate (CAO) will also be revoked.

But the DoT said the hotel operations is on “status quo” pending an appeal.

This means that guests in quarantine can still stay at the hotel.

“The CGGH has the right to appeal within the period prescribed by the DoT rules and regulations,” it said.

“The DoT adheres to the FOI (Freedom of Information) executive order mandating access to information, subject to compliance with prescribed procedures to ensure observance of the provisions of the Data Privacy Act,” the DoT added.

Meanwhile, with the growing number of erring quarantine hotels operating for leisure purposes, the department warned all accredited accommodation establishments (AEs) to confine their operations to the authority given them, limited to just one per given time.

“This is to reiterate that AEs repurposed as quarantine facilities cannot offer their rooms and facilities for leisure purposes. At the same time, staycation hotels shall not be used for quarantine,” the DoT said, noting that only four- and five-star rated AEs may be allowed to apply as staycation hotels.

At present, there are only 15 AEs in Metro Manila that have been issued the Certificate of Authority to Operate as Staycation (CAOS).

These are the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Makati Shangri-La Hotel, Okada Manila Hotel, Shangri-La at the Fort, Nobu Hotel, Joy Nostalg Hotel and Suites Manila, EDSA Shangri-La Manila, Solaire Resort, Hyatt Regency City of Dreams, Nuwa Hotel City of Dreams, The Peninsula Manila, Aruga by Rockwell, Sheraton Manila Hotel, Hilton Manila, and Hotel Okura Manila.