Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Friday warned hotels to comply with the government’s protocols for operating amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Puyat lamented the “greed” of hotels who continue to defy health protocols and other regulations despite repeated reminders from the DOT and the risks to their guests.
“Makonsensya naman kayo (Have conscience). You are endangering ‘yong mga guest ninyo (your guests),” she said in an interview with ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.
“’Yong mga gusto doon na walang kamuwang-muwang, na gusto lang mag-hotel na hindi sila makapag-out of town, gusto nilang makasama ang kanilang mga loved ones; pero at the same time, merong kayong mga nagku-quarantine, makonsensya naman kayo (Those who just wanted to stay in hotels because they cannot go out of town and just wanted to be with their loved ones, have no idea that you are accommodating guests under quarantine at the same time. I hope you’re bothered by your conscience),” she appealed.
“I think kaswapangan na ‘yan (that’s greed)… Hotel business is all about the guests. You should take care of your guests… ‘Pag may nag-positive dyan, kasalanan ninyo ‘yan (If someone tests positive from your guests, you are responsible for this),” she continued.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) chief issued these statements after the agency suspended the accreditation of the City Garden Grand Hotel for six months for “gross and evident bad faith in dealing with clients” following the death of 23-year-old flight attendant Christine Dacera in one of its rooms on New Year’s Day.
Puyat said City Garden accepted guests for leisure when it was accredited to operate as a quarantine facility for overseas Filipino workers and other suspected COVID-19 patients.
City Garden denied that they took in Dacera and her friends for leisure, saying “there was no clear indication that these guests knew each other, or made reservations with the intention of holding a party”.
But Puyat said the DOT “also looked at other cases” and not only the incident involving Dacera.
Puyat said the DOT was not remiss in reminding and enforcing their protocols for hotels. Several show-cause orders have been issued to hotels for various offenses, she said.
The DOT has only authorized 15 hotels to operate for staycation.
“Kung staycation, staycation (If you are accredited for staycation, then stick with staycations). Kung quarantine, quarantine (If you are accredited as a quarantine facility, then stick to quarantine),” Puyat said.
“Huwag niyong i-mix kasi alam ninyong mali (Don’t mix guests because you know it’s wrong),” she added.
Aside from suspending its accreditation, City Garden was also slapped with a P10,000 fine. Its Certificate of Authority to Operate was also revoked.
The hotel was given two weeks to appeal the DOT decision.