Cebu governor volunteers to be probed in Bantayan crowd incident

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Cebu (CNN Philippines, November 30) -- Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia volunteered to be questioned in the fact-finding initiative by the Department of the Interior and Local Government on the recent tourism event in Bantayan Island, which violated social distancing protocols.

“I welcome his (DILG Secretary Eduardo Año's) fact-finding probe. And I am offering myself to be questioned first and foremost,” she told reporters in a text message.

“After all, I initiated the mini Suroy-Suroy. And the crowd, wearing face masks, in an open beach area, were there to watch a presentation during the Madridejos Suroy-Suroy stop,” Garcia added.

In a radio interview on Sunday, Año said a fact-finding probe will be conducted on the tourism event in Madridejos town, which was criticized online for having a huge crowd amid the pandemic.

The event, dubbed as Suroy-Suroy Sugbo program, was meant to promote the reopening of tourism activities in Bantayan Island.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, who was a guest in the event, and Cebu officials said that they did not expect the big crowd turnout.

The three-day event was staged to highlight the tourism and heritage sites of three towns in the island, including white sand beaches, centuries-old churches and structures.

The Department of Health has constantly reminded the public that the risk of coronavirus transmission remains high in crowded places, even when people are wearing face shields and face masks.

CNN Philippines' Multi-Platform News Writer Vince Ferreras contributed to this report