SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews / 01 Nov) — Despite the ban on holding parties on Siargao Island for the All Saints Day and All Souls Day holiday break, trick or treat Halloween parties still happened at some accommodations there, to the chagrin of local authorities.
General Luna Mayor Cecilia Rusillon reiterated calls to establishments to refrain from holding parties and any social gatherings while observing the holidays on Siargao Island, the surfing capital of the Philippines.
The Province of Surigao del Norte is still under “Alert Level 4” as identified by the Department of Health, she said in an advisory on Friday, 29 October.
An area is under Alert Level 4 if its case counts are higher and/or increasing, with the total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate at high utilization.
Rusillon said that pursuant to Executive Order No. 21-034, series of 2021 issued by the Provincial Government, establishments are strictly prohibited to operate/hold activities that are characterized as high-risk for COVID-19 virus transmission, such as social events and parties.
But despite her advisory, parties went wild and free in different places, with liquors served as disc jockeys played rave music. In another accommodation, a mini-concert was held with a set of band playing jazz and rock music.
Municipal Councilor Van Harold Dolera, together with local police officers, rounded up Sunday the establishments caught holding Halloween parties.
“We reiterate our calls, no parties allowed in General Luna. Our leaders will never tolerate. Kindly respect our laws, our place and the local people,” Dolera said.
Dolera, who chairs the peace and order committee of the Sangguniang Bayan, said that party organizers were given wrong information that parties are allowed, the reason why guests came in droves.
He said the erring establishments were meted penalties, including closure for a week for violating health protocols.
Bingle Silvosa, a local resident, told MindaNews that the local government has been relentless in trying to curb the spread of COVID-19, but that some business establishments have not been cooperating.
“Part of my suggestion would be meting higher penalty and the duration of the suspension should be longer for the offenders,” Silvosa said.
“We cannot compromise health and safety,” he added. (Roel Catoto / MindaNews)