Malacañang on said Tuesday said it respects the decision of the municipality of Sagada, Mountain Province to reject the request of a delegation from Malacañang Presidential Broadcast Staff (MPBS), including director Joyce Bernal, to shoot videos in the famous tourist spot amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said while the team had secured health certificates and travel authorities, they complied with the rules of the Sagada local government.
“Rinespeto naman ni Joyce Bernal at ng RTVM ang desisyon ng Sagada. Inuulit ko po, meron namang pong health certificate at travel authority po si Joyce Bernal at ang mga kasama niya pero nung hindi sila pinapasok, di naman po sila nagpumilit (Joyce Bernal and RTVM respect the decision of Sagada. I repeat, they have health certificates and travel authorities but when they were not allowed to enter, they did not insist),” he said.
In a Facebook post on Monday, the Sagada local government said the request of the RTVM was rejected both by the Office of the Sagada Mayor and the Sagada Municipal Disaster Risk and Management Office.
They disclosed that Bernal’s team sent an email about the conduct of the video shoot to the Office of the Sagada mayor “after office hours” on July 3.
It also said Bernal and her team will be arriving in Sagada by night of July 5.
The Sagada officials, however, only received word that Bernal’s team will be arriving on July 5.
This prompted the Mayor and the Municipal Disaster Risk and Management Officer (MDRRMO) to convene a meeting with the Local Covid-19 Task Force which ultimately decided against the request of Bernal and her team.
“While the meeting was ongoing, the advance party of Direk Joyce were being escorted by our Phil. National Police to Sagada Cellar Door where they will be staying, after the management of Sagada Heritage Village turned them down following the local guideline that all tourism establishments continue to be suspended/closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” the post read.
The Sagada LGU also wrote a letter to Bernal’s team, saying the strict implementation on the entry of persons coming outside Mountain Province to Sagada has been effective in maintaining a Covid-19-free community.
“Sagada, being a 5th-class municipality, is not ready, specifically our health facilities, to accommodate the presence of a Covid-19 positive case in the locality,” the letter read.
Earlier, Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to deliver his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) by either physically showing up at the House of Representatives Session Hall in Batasan Pambansa, or virtually. (PNA)