HRRAC mulls legal actions vs netizens alleging Cebu hotels are unsafe amid COVID-19 threats
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The organizational assembly of general managers of Cebu-based hotels are planning to file complaints against netizens spreading allegations that their establishments are not safe for occupancy due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
In a statement on Saturday, February 29, the Hotel, Resort, and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) denied claims that some establishments in Cebu are unsafe due to the presence of South Koreans who flew in from Daegu City last February 25.
“There is no truth to the rumor that these Koreans are already afflicted and may infect others. HRRAC has been updated on this matter by the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7),” HRRAC stated.
HRRAC was referring to a post published by a Facebook user that showed a document containing information about the 26 South Koreans who arrived in Cebu from Daegu City last February 25.
Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, interviewed over dzBB Super Radyo 594 in Manila on Saturday, however said that “less than 10” of the South Koreans who came from Daegu were still in their respective accommodations in Cebu.
HRACC, composed of more than 100 companies owning and operating hotels, resorts, and restaurants in Cebu, said they are considering filing formal complaints against those who publish these reports.
“The legal team of HRRAC is now tasked to look into the matter and will asses the criminal liability under the Cybercrime Law against the person or persons who posted the same,” the statement read.
Details found on the document included the foreigners’ full names, sex, age, and the names of the hotels where they are staying.
The Facebook user accompanied it with a caption, telling the public not to pursue their reservations with the hotels where the Koreans are reportedly staying.
CDN Digital will not divulge the name of the Facebook user pending his or her comments on the matter.
HRRAC also said they are coordinating with DOH-7 to find out why these details were leaked to unauthorized individuals.
Daegu City is located in North Gyeongsang province where the outbreak of COVID-19 in South Korea started.
The Philippine government has imposed travel restrictions on the entire North Gyeongsang province.
The Capitol, on the other hand, requires all Filipinos coming from this region in South Korea to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Brunt of COVID-19
The tourism industry in the Philippines is among those which will bear the brunt of the COVID-19. Tourism is considered the “bread and butter” of Cebu’s economy.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) projected the country to lose up to P23 billion a month due to a decline in tour reservations, hotel and airfare bookings.
They initially planned on launching a month-long shopping festival to promote domestic tourism this March in order to offset the losses. But as of February 29, they decided to postpone it due to rising COVID-19 cases in countries outside China such as South Korea, Italy, Iran, and Japan.
South Koreans are Cebu’s top market source for tourism players in 2018, with 1.34 million arrivals recorded. They were followed by Chinese tourists at over 600,000.
Before the government’s task force on COVID-19 implemented travel restrictions on North Gyeongsang province in South Korea, they have ordered a complete travel ban to the whole of China.
As a result, HRRAC has noted a drop in hotel and resort bookings./ elb
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