Cebu

Cebu lawmaker says Camotes beach party covered by permits

Art Lubiano
Cebu lawmaker says Camotes beach party covered by permits

CEBU LAWMAKER. File photo of Cebu 5th District Representative Duke Frasco

facebook page of Duke Frasco

Cebu congressman Duke Frasco shows the permits he secured from the local government and the regional coronavius task force for the TeamFrasco Friendship Ride/Run event

Cebu 5th District Representative Duke Frasco on Friday, August 20, presented permits to prove that the controversial beach party that his group hosted in San Francisco town, in Cebu’s Camotes Islands, was covered by the necessary permits.

“The TeamFrasco Friendship Ride/Run event held on July 10, 2021, in the Islands of Camotes, almost two months ago, during the more relaxed Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) status of Cebu, was covered with all the necessary PERMITS and APPROVALS from the IATF and the Local Government Unit of San Francisco, Camotes, prior to and during the event,” Frasco said in a statement posted on his Facebook page.

The permits that Franco presented authorized the main event or the Team Frasco Friendship Ride/Run. It was not clear if the party, which took place after the biking event, was sanctioned by the regional coronavirus task force and the local government as well.

Rappler has reached out to Frasco to seek clarification on this matter but he has not responded as of posting. We will update this story as soon as he does.

Cebu governor calls pandemic beach party complaint ‘malicious’

Cebu governor calls pandemic beach party complaint ‘malicious’

In an interview with GMA News, San Francisco Mayor Alfredo Arquillano Jr. said he that explicitly told the organizers to follow health protocols when he approved the permit.

Wala na akong personal knowledge doon kasi I was not around during that time. With regards to that, siguro mabuti na hintayin na lang ang resulta ng imbestigasyon,” Arquillano said.

(I don’t have personal knowledge on that because I was not around during that time. It’s probably best to wait for the results of the investigation.)

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) both ordered investigations on the seaside event.

Frasco said on Friday that he and the event organizers would cooperate with any investigation.

The heavily-criticized seaside affair was allegedly hosted by Frasco, Cebu Provincial Board Member Red Duterte, and former provincial board candidate Mike Villamor.

‘No significant surge’

Citing DOH records on San Francisco town’s COVID-19 cases, Frasco said that there was no significant increase in coronavirus cases after the activity.

“Records from the Department of Health (DOH) and the LGU show that in the 15-day period following, from July 11 to 25, there was no significant increase of positive cases,” Frasco said.

“On the contrary, the 15-day period subsequent (to) the event showed either zero new cases or single digit cases, with most days having only one or two new cases,” Frasco said.

“Even among the new cases, contact tracing records show that NONE of these persons who tested positive of Covid-19 were participants of the Team Frasco Friendship Ride/Run,” he added.

Data from the San Francisco Municipal Health Office showed a spike in cases in the town over a month after the party. The local health office recorded a total of 149 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 20 fatalities on Monday, August 16 – three times higher compared to the 46 confirmed cases and six deaths on July 28.

Health protocols

Frasco said the town was under a “more relaxed” modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) classification when the party was held and that the beach front has an approximate maximum capacity of 25,000 people.

“IATF guidelines on events and gatherings under MGCQ status allows for up to 50% of the venue capacity to be filled,” Frasco said. “Hence, a maximum of 12,500 people are allowed for an event held at the public beach.”

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While the omnibus guidelines for MGCQ allow a maximum of 50% capacity of the venue, it also mandates the strict observance of minimum health standards. The event was also held after the highly infectious COVID-19 Delta variant was detected in parts of the country.

Frasco said in his statement on Friday that “all participants were continuously reminded by the organizers before and during the event to follow necessary health/safety protocols and guidelines including wearing of masks and social distancing.”

However, multiple photos and videos of the event showed people not observing the prescribed minimum health standards. – Rappler.com

Art Lubiano is a Visayas-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.

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