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Western Visayas fire chief relieved over new COVID-19 case in Boracay

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has ordered the relief of the regional director of Bureau of Fire Protection in Region VI following the alleged breach of quarantine protocols of a fire personnel in Boracay Island.

Año said he has appointed Fire Senior Superintendent Jerry Candido, director for logistics of BFP-National Headquarters, to be the officer-in-charge of BFP - Region VI following the relief of Fire Senior Superintendent Roderick Aguto.

"We will never tolerate any wrongdoing by our BFP personnel or any other DILG personnel for that matter because lives are at stake here. Panahon ng pandemya ngayon at hindi puwede ang mga palusot," Año said.

"Moreover, as law enforcers, we must set a good example to our people and the breach of quarantine protocols sets a very bad example,” he added.

This developed after a BFP employee allegedly went around the tourist destination while awaiting the result of her reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test for COVID-19. The test  turned out positive.

Earlier, Aklan acting mayor Frolibar Bautista bared that the said fire personnel was on Boracay Island from June 12 to 14 to attend a conference.

DILG spokesman Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said BFP chief Fire Director Jose Embang was tasked to immediately investigate the matter and to submit the results of the investigation to the agency.

Malaya said contact tracing has been started to identify those who had direct contact with the infected BFP personnel.

"Puspusan na po ang contact tracing na isinasagawa ng BFP - VI at mayroon na pong koordinasyon sa DILG Region VI at Police Regional Office," Malaya said.

"Titiyakin po natin ang medical needs ng mga fire personnel na ito na maaaring na-expose sa COVID-19 subalit mananagot din sila sa anumang maging resulta ng imbestigasyon nila na ipinag-utos ni Secretary Año kaugnay sa posibleng naging kapabayaan," he added.

Initial report indicated that the positive RT/PCR result of the personnel was released last June 14. It was found out that she had close exposure to two of her colleagues.

So far, a total of 196 BFP - VI personnel have undergone rapid testing for COVID-19. According to the Department of Health, only 28 of the 196 were subjected to RT-PCR and were advised to undergo quarantine pending results of their tests on Friday.

The BFP - VI regional office, its provincial offices, and fire stations have been placed under lockdown and were advised to observe strict sanitation and disinfection efforts. -NB, GMA News