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Conference or despedida? BFP forms team to look into Boracay incident

Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) chief Director Jose Embang Jr. has formed a team to look into the supposed conference on Boracay Island attended by over 20 BFP personnel, including one that was supposed to be on quarantine and who later turned out to be COVID-19 positive.

Interviewed on Dobol B sa News TV on Thursday, Embang said based on information reaching the national headquarters, the BFP personnel arrived on Boracay on the afternoon of June 12, after the inspecting team from the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases left the island.

Embang said the IATF team, which was joined by a BFP team, inspected the popular tourist island for its reopening.

"Umalis yung IATF then dumating yung second batch [ng BFP personnel] nung hapon ng [June] 12. Yun ang iniimbestigahan namin, kung ano ang intention nila at kung may meeting silang ginawa," he said.

Embang said a total of 27 BFP personnel attended the said gathering. "Twenty-seven, all in all. Nag-organize ako ng investigating team para tignan itong 'Bora 27,'" he said.

The BFP chief said it was not clear if the BFP team really conducted a meeting, noting reports reaching them that what really happened was a despedida. He said he is not aware of any reason to conduct a despedida.

"Yung allegations na ganyan kelangan ma-ascertain ng headquarters," he said in justifying the need to form a team to look into the incident.

Embang reiterated that under community quarantine guidelines, gatherings and meetings are prohibited "unless necessary" and with "limited participants."

"Kelangan walang abuse sa quarantine protocols," he said.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has already ordered the relief of the BFP regional director in Region VI following the alleged breach of quarantine protocols of a BFP employee.

The 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.

Aklan acting mayor Frolibar Bautista said the BFP employee was on Boracay Island from June 12 to 14. --KBK, GMA News