Press Release
June 13, 2021

DOT Sec's latest IG stories show a series of health violations -- Sen. Nancy

"Allowing a 6-year old child to go around without face mask & face shield in tour sites and public areas, and for a member of Cabinet not practicing basic health protocols is flat out unacceptable."

This was Sen. Nancy Binay's reaction when netizens brought to her attention an Instagram Story posted by tourism secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat on June 12 (Independence Day).

The Instagram post showed Puyat together with 6-year old Scarlet Snow Belo de-planing and visiting several tour sites apparently as part of a subtle tourism promotional campaign to encourage domestic leisure travel.

"I understand fully the concern of Sec. Berna in helping the industry. Talagang dapang-dapa na ang ating industriya ng turismo, but what everyone saw in her IG post is a disturbing lapse of judgment that showcased a series of public health and IATF violations," Binay explained.

According to the lady senator, government should be consistent in its messaging to the public, specially with children as part of the message, adding that special emphasis must be placed on strictly following the minimum health and safety protocols even as certain restrictions are eased or lifted.

Her intentions may be good but as a Cabinet member, the more na dapat alam niya kung ano ang mga ipinapatupad na regulasyon ng gobyerno. Bilang taga-gobyerno dapat conscious tayo if makakabuti o makakasama ang mga desisyon o aksyon natin, because you may be sending wrong signals to the public in showing that minors are already allowed to go visit tourist destinations" Binay added.


The Department of Tourism invokes IATF Resolution 118-A which allows travelers ages below 18 and above 65 years old to travel for leisure provided that they undergo RT-PCR testing before travel.

However, IATF clarified that only "point-to-point" travel from NCR Plus to areas under MGCQ shall be allowed without age restrictions subject to an RT-PCR test-before-travel requirement for those below eighteen years old (18) and above sixty-five (65), and other protocols and restrictions as may be imposed by the DOT and the Local Government Unit of destination.

Binay pointed out that Puyat's IG Story showed travelling to several tour sites breaking the "point-to-point" policy totally downplaying the fact that Covid is still very real and fatal.

"As a government executive, yung expectation ay pina-practice simpleng 'Apat Dapat', pero yung ginagawa yung mga hindi dapat. Kapag laging ganito, nalulusaw ang mensahe na dapat maging mas vigilant tayo ngayon dahil maraming mas fatal na COVID variants na ang nasa Pilipinas. Naha-highlight din yung unfair application ng IATF rules--maluwag tayo doon sa mga may sinasabi sa lipunan, pero kinakaladkad natin yung mga maliliit at walang-wala," Binay noted.

Netizens were also surprised to see Sec. Berna and Scarlet Snow touring without their face masks and face shields on.

"First, ang posisyon ng health experts ay bawal pa rin talagang lumabas ang mga bata. Sec Berna's post practically showed na safe nang bumyahe ang mga bata. Being one of the most-followed social media influencers, Snow gives a perception that 'everything is OK'--which, in fact, allowing kids to roam in public places is not OK," she added.

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