DOT: 2-3 hotels reportedly involved in absentee quarantine scheme

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 3) — Amid rising COVID-19 cases in the country, the Department of Tourism bared a supposed scheme among a few hotels to allegedly allow travelers to skip quarantine protocols.

Speaking to CNN Philippines' The Source on Monday, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat said even prior to the controversy involving a Makati hotel that failed to keep one of its guests in quarantine, there were around two to three identified hotels that were allegedly allowing guests to pay up and just show up on the fifth day of their arrival for an RT-PCR test without checking in the whole time.

RELATED: Makati hotel apologizes for quarantine breach 

"We have been hearing of this modus operandi na babayaran lang tapos magpapakita lang sa fifth day ng swab because if you’re fully vaccinated diba you get swabbed on the fifth day," Puyat said.

[Translation: We have been hearing of this modus operandi wherein you only have to pay so that you can just show up on the fifth day for your swab test because if you are fully vaccinated you get swabbed on the fifth day right?]

"Although we have been receiving already this news, even before this incident, people have already been informing us na they heard na may hindi nagka-quarantine sa hotel pero binabayaran lang yung hotel (that there are those who would not quarantine in a hotel but would just opt to pay that hotel)," she added.

Puyat said that while majority of the hotels are compliant with the protocols, there really are just "a few bad eggs."

She noted that they have already reported the matter to the Philippine Coast Guard, the Philippine National Police, and the Bureau of Quarantine.

"Our next move is to catch them in action," she said. "Anyway, when the passenger arrives, nandoon naman yung hotel ng quarantine so iyon na lang, isa-spot check na lang on the third or fourth day kung naka-quarantine talaga (the name of their place of quarantine is indicated anyway so we will just spot check on the third or fourth day if they are really undergoing quarantine)."

Makati hotel yet to speak up

Meanwhile, Berjaya Makati Hotel has not yet responded to the Tourism department's notice of explanation over the recent quarantine breach of the controversial coronavirus-positive traveler from the US who went to Makati's Poblacion district and attended parties, eventually infecting some of her companions.

The woman is now under isolation in another hotel, which Puyat did not disclose.

Puyat said she is expecting to get a response within the day from Berjaya on the incident.