Clamor for no exemptions in COVID protocol mounts after Panglao mayor’s violation

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Clamor for no exemptions in COVID protocol mounts after Panglao mayor’s violation

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NOTE: This story was first published in The Bohol Chronicle’s Sunday print edition.

Amidst the pandemic, Boholanos echoed their appeal to Gov. Art Yap, head of the Bohol Inter-Agency Task Force to strictly implement health protocols with no exemptions even to high ranking government officials.

The public clamor registered during the top-rated public affairs programs “Inyong Alagad” and “Tagbilaran-By-Nite” of station DYRD zeroed in on the alleged violation of health protocols of Panglao Mayor Nila Montero who, together with 16 companions, slipped to Cebu City without the travel clearance from the Bohol IATF.

The mayor’s unauthorized trip to Cebu generated public indignation following the disclosure of the mayor’s Cebu trip last Sept. 15. In fact, this trip caused the self-imposed quarantine of Vice Gov. Rene Relampagos, Rep. Edgar Chatto, several Panglao resort managers who met with the mayor during the soft opening of Modala Resort on September 18.

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Gov. Yap, himself likewise went on self-quarantine, according to Provincial Administrator Kat Puiquinto.

The trip to the lady mayor to Cebu was leaked in a photo posted on Facebook where she attended a social function with a top PNP regional official on the evening of Sept. 15. She and her entourage went back to Bohol the following day.

The mayor likewise admitted that she attended the coastal cleanup days after her arrival from Cebu

Interviewed by DYRD’s “Tagbilaran-By-Nite,” Mayor Montero clarified that she went on “isolation” after her Cebu trip. She likewise explained that her trip was official in nature since she was there to pick up a seacraft to be used in  the seaborne patrol of the municipality.”

Montero submitted for a PCR test three days after the governor and other officials already went on self-quarantine and was subsequently found negative of Coronavirus the following day.

Gov. Yap directed PNP Provl Director Calixto Clarito, head of the security cluster of Bohol IATF to investigate the reported breach of protocol.

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The PNP official has reportedly submitted the results of his investigation to Gov. Yap. Accordingly, Col. Clarito based his findings on the report he asked from Panglao PNP which is under LGU supervision which in the case of Panglao would be under Mayor Montero herself.

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PANGLAOANONS ASKED DISCIPLINARY SANCTIONS

Constituents of Mayor Montero have demanded disciplinary sanctions on the alleged breach of health protocol committed by their chief executive.

In a letter addressed to Gov. Yap, the Panglaonons said that Montero should be held “answerable for gross misconduct, gross neglect of duty, violation of Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act, violation of Republic Act 11332.”

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They cited that the “Bayanihan To Heal As One Act which was adopted last March mandates that all LGUs and local officials should act within the letter and spirit   all the rules, regulations, and directives issued by the national government”

“A lawmaker should not be a lawbreaker” was the common sentiment of those who aired their comments on the mayor’s alleged breach of health protocol.

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The Panglao residents said their mayor has failed to observe the following” “they did not secure a prior clearance to travel from the Bohol Inter-Agency Task  Force (BIATF) for COVID-19;  they did not submit themselves to a prior PCR testing; and they did not undergo the required quarantine procedures.

The residents appealed to the governor a “no whitewash” in the investigation if he still wants the people to respect and follow his call to observe health protocols to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.

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