NOW it’s “Massage Girl.”
Another woman was caught skipping government’s mandatory quarantine procedures, and instead went home to her condominium unit and called for a home-service massage, according to Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat.
Speaking to CNN Philippines’s The Source, she said, “After this incident (Gwyneth Ann Chua and Berjaya Hotel), somebody gave the name, even gave pictures that the day [this other person] arrived, she had a massage and she was even posting it on Instagram stories! Very proud ha, that she was skipping quarantine. And the person who knows her even gave a sworn affidavit. The person has since been caught.”
Netizens have since dubbed the violator as “Massage Girl,” in the same vein that they dubbed Chua, the young woman who went to a party in Makati instead of quarantining, as the “Poblacion Girl.” Romulo Puyat said, upon further verification, the new violator “admitted that she skipped quarantine.”
Despite this new case, the tourism chief stressed that “majority of hotels comply” with government’s mandatory quarantine procedures. “There are just a few bad eggs,” she said, referring to the “absentee quarantine” practice, which was first reported by the BusinessMirror last week. Romulo Puyat said then she personally called up some hotel owners to find out the truth behind the scheme, where returning Filipinos pay for quarantine stays, but only return to the hotel on the fifth day for their Covid swab test. (See, “DOT chief livid over hotels selling ‘absentee quarantine’ packages,” December 30, 2021.)
Hotel tells on quarantine violator
Meanwhile, government sources said it was Seda Residences Makati (Seda RM) which reported “Massage Girl’s” non-appearance at their establishment to relevant government agencies. They added, it was not the first time for the woman, whose name has been kept under wraps, to stay at Seda RM, an indication that she already knew the procedures by which she would be transported from the airport. Still, the sources averred, Seda RM sent all the details of the pickup procedures at the airport.
Upon further investigation, an airport taxi driver said he drove the woman in question to Seda RM, “and saw there was another person/vehicle waiting for [her].”
Based on Seda RM General Manager Marc Cerqueda’s report, the woman claimed that “no car picked her up” upon her arrival from the US at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on December 22. “The hotel management, however, claimed that when its personnel went to the airport to pick up the individual, according to the procedure, the individual evaded going with hotel staff by claiming a quarantine exemption that turned out to be non-existent,” said Romulo Puyat in a news statement on Monday.
Covid swab done at woman’s condo
Government sources said upon checking with the Philippine Airport Diagnostic Laboratory (PADLab), it was further confirmed that she had texted PADLab “stating she [was] not in Seda but in Park West.” PADLab added the woman in question was swabbed on December 26, and the result was released the next morning. Sources declined to say the result of the woman’s Covid test.
Romulo Puyat said the DOT has endorsed the woman’s case to the Philippine National Police, as a member of the One-Stop-Shop for the Management of Returning Overseas Filipino, for appropriate action.
Cerqueda declined to talk to about the incident, saying the DOT is already investigating the quarantine violations of said guest.
“The DOT appreciates the hard work and dedication of all accredited hotels who have ensured that returning Filipinos safely and comfortably finish the prescribed quarantine before they are allowed to leave hotel premises,” Romulo Puyat said.
“We remind all establishments and the traveling public to be responsible and strictly observe the guidelines and protocols imposed by the authorities,” she added.
Image credits: Nonie Reyes