The municipality of Sagada, Mountain Province has turned down the request of a delegation from Malacañang Presidential Broadcast Staff, including director Joyce Bernal, to shoot videos in the famous tourist spot amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a Facebook post, the Sagada local government unit said the request of the MPBS-Radio TV Malacañang was thumbed down both by the Office of the Sagada Mayor and the Sagada Municipal Disaster Risk and Management Office.
“Accordingly, video materials will be used in this year’s SONA scheduled on the third Monday of July. Both (Sagada local government offices) declined the request,” the statement read.
The Sagada local government 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 of July 3, Friday.
The correspondence also stated that Bernal and her team will be arriving in Sagada by night of July 5. Attached to the email was an authorization letter signed by Dennis Wilfred Pabalan, executive director of the MPBS-RTVM.
The Sagada officials, however, only received word that Bernal’s team will be arriving on July 5. This prompted the 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 Philippine 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 statement said.
Bernal and Andrew Chinalpan, Sagada Cellar Door manager, were called to the meeting.
“The Local Task Force explained the sentiments of the body which was contained in a letter addressed to the team’s coordinator. Direk Joyce clearly understood the decision of the body and she was apologetic. She appealed that they be given the night to rest in the Cellar Door and to ensure that their vehicles are ready for the long trip back to Manila,” the statement added.
Bernal and her team’s request to stay for the night in Cellar Door was granted.
As this developed, the Sagada’s Local COVID Task Force also vowed to monitor th situation in the Cellar Door property to ensure that those in the establishment undergo a mandatory quarantine.
The municipality of Sagada also posted its letter to Bernal's team. It stated that 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," it added.
GMA News Online sought the comment of presidential spokesperson Harry Roque and Presidential Communications Operations Office head Martin Andanar on the matter but they have yet to reply.—AOL, GMA News