MANILA, Philippines – The chief of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Western Visayas was relieved of duty on Wednesday, June 17, after one of the region’s fire personnel “roamed” Boracay Island while waiting for her coronavirus test results, which later turned out to be positive.
“We will never tolerate any wrongdoing by our BFP personnel or any other DILG personnel for that matter because lives are at stake here,” Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement Wednesday.
The sacked chief, Fire Senior Superintendent Roderick Aguto, will be replaced in an officer-in-charge capacity by Fire Senior Superintendent Jerry Candido, the current logistics chief of the BFP.
Where did the BFP staffer go? The unnamed staffer had contact with 27 other BFP personnel, the DILG said. Of the 27, she had “close contact” with two of them.
The DILG has not disclosed the areas and establishments the staffer had been to during her stay.
The BFP has formed a special investigation task group to focus on tracing the contacts of all the fire personnel involved. All of them have been scheduled for testing and have already been quarantined, the DILG said.
Why does this matter? This comes just a day after Boracay was opened for Western Visayas tourists in an effort to reinvigorate a tourist economy cratered by the coronavirus pandemic.
In April 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the closure of Boracay Island for rehabilitation purposes. It reopened 6 months later, in October 2018. (READ: Boracay: Paradise reborn?)
It was shuttered again in March 2020, but this time because of the coronavirus pandemic. Aklan province has lost some P11.33 billion in tourism receipts as of May because of quarantine restrictions. – Rappler.com