Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año has ordered the relief of the Regional Director of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) – Region 6, F/SSUPT Roderick P. Aguto, after the reported breach of quarantine protocol of a fire personnel who reportedly roamed around Boracay Island while awaiting the result of her PCR test on COVID-19 which eventually turned out to be positive.
“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. 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 said.
Año has appointed F/SSUPT Jerry D. Candido, the Director for Logistics of BFP-National Headquarters (NHQ), to be the Officer-in-Charge of BFP-Region 6.
“Alam ninyo po, hindi madali itong contact tracing. To be careless on the part of public safety officers in this time of pandemic is utterly deplorable,” said Año, whose agency is the lead agency in the contact tracing efforts of NTF COVID.
DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that Secretary Año has directed BFP Chief Jose Embang to immediately investigate the matter and to submit the results of the investigation to his office.
“A Special Investigation Task Group of the BFP NHQ has been directed to investigate fire personnel of BFP-6 and her 27 other co-workers whom she had exposure to or close contact with,” said Malaya.
“Puspusan na po ang contact tracing na isinasagawa ng BFP-6 at mayroon na pong koordinasyon sa DILG Region 6 at Police Regional Office. 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 said.
Based on the initial report, the positive PCR result of the concerned personnel came out June 14, 2020 and it was found out that she had close exposure to her two colleagues.
Malaya said that the BFP Regional Office is now conducting swabbing and placing under quarantine all its personnel who has had contact with the subject individual.
As of Tuesday, 196 BFP-6 personnel have undergone rapid test. According to the Department of Health, only 28 of the 196 were subjected to RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) and were advised to undergo quarantine pending results expected to be released on Friday, June 19.
The BFP-6 Regional Office, its provincial offices, and fire stations have been placed under lockdown and were advised to observe strict sanitation and disinfection efforts.