The Department of Tourism (DoT) is investigating the controversial party organized by social media personality Tim Yap for alleged violation of health protocols.
“The DoT Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) is currently investigating the reported party at a DoT-accredited accommodation establishment in Baguio City. A Notice to Explain has already been issued to the establishment,” the department said in a statement.
Netizens were quick to call out Yap after videos from several prominent personalities who attended the socialite’s birthday party made rounds on social media showing most guests without face masks and were not socially distanced.
Yap apologized for the health protocol violations during the party but clarified that all guests were tested before entering Baguio City.
The local government is requiring tourists to have a negative swab test result before being allowed to enter the city. Baguio City Mayor Benjie Magalong said on Thursday that the local government unit (LGU) is also investigating the matter.
Magalong admitted that he and his wife attended the party after being invited by Yap. He added that there were protocol breaches during the event particularly with the failure of partygoers to wear face masks.
“Mayroon pa ring naging paglabag. Mayroon po kaming ordinance na ipinapatupad na kapag hindi ka nag-wear ng mask while in a public place, you have to be fined depende kung how many times ka nag-violate,” Magalong said in an interview.
However, Magalong, who is also the government’s contact tracing czar, defended that he and his wife wore masks upon arriving at the party and only took them off when taking pictures and while eating.
According to Magalong, he understands why the guests, including his wife, failed to observe COVID-19 protocols as they are too “excited” or “engaged” during the event.
“Nagkataon lang po na tao lang po tayo. Sometimes when we are so engaged in a particular activity na masayahin, minsan nakakalimutan po natin,” he said.
Magalong added that he already asked The Manor, the hotel where Yap’s birthday party was held, to explain why it should not be sanctioned over protocol breach.
Meanwhile, the DoT reiterated to the public to strictly observe the minimum health and safety guidelines and its protocols on mass gatherings and social events.