TAGBILARAN CITY – A foam party fashion show held in a resort in Panglao, Bohol early this month was condemned by the public and the Church for indecent exposure and breaching health protocols amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Department of Tourism (DOT) Region 7 (Central Visayas) Director Shalimar Hofer Tamano, in a letter to Bohol Gov. Arthur Yap dated March 12, said that the Amanzara Resort in Panglao is not a DOT-accredited entity and it has no accreditation application online to date.
The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Omnibus Guidelines states that “only hotels or accommodation establishments with valid DOT accreditation shall be allowed to accommodate guests and clients for legitimate purposes under a state of public health emergency.” The guidelines also said that the operations of such hotels and accommodation establishments as well as ancillary establishments within their premises such as restaurants, cafes, gyms, spas, function halls, and the like shall be subject to guidelines issued by the DOT and the IATF.
According to Ven Arigo of the Provincial Information and Media Relations (PRIMER), the resort advertised two more foam party fashion shows on the evening of March 12 and 13.
Arigo said that Yap, who is also the chairman of the Bohol Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) for Emerging Diseases, enjoined the Panglao local government unit through Mayor Leonila Montero to order the resort to cease and desist from conducting more foam party fashion shows immediately upon receipt of his letter to avoid the recurrence of reported violations of the minimum health and safety protocols for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19.
Arigo said that the governor’s act was based on various local government circulars, memoranda, and policies for the maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property, and the promotion of the general welfare of the people.
On the provincial government Facebook page, it said that preventing the spread of the virus is way better than simply catching the resort or the party attendees en flagrante or in the act of violating the health protocols.
“The province understands the need to jumpstart the tourism economy, we are your partner on this cause, but only in proper and decent manner; let alone can we tolerate violations of the law and ordinance under any circumstances,” the FB post added.
Panglao Mayor Leonila Montero, in her written reply, told Yap to desist from interfering with local affairs, Arigo bared.
According to Arigo, the controversy stemmed when a topless woman romped by the poolside in front of the partygoers and guests.
Videos supposedly taken during the event also showed the wild tight crowd without social distancing and face masks amid the pandemic which caused the widespread public and church condemnation, Arigo said.
Montero forgave the resort management because it was only a first offense based on the municipal ordinance on pandemic response.