Popular film director Joyce Bernal and her team were denied entry to Sagada on July 5, 2020 despite obtaining travel authorities from Malacañang.
Through an account of events from the Sagada Municipality’s Facebook Page, Sagada Mayor James Pooten and the Municipal Disaster Risk and Management Officer (MDRRMO) received a call from a Malacañang Presidential Broadcast Staff-RTVM coordinator on July 3, 2020, requesting for permission if Director Joyce Bernal and her team can shoot videos that will be used as materials for the upcoming State of the Nation Address. Both Mayor Pooten and MDRRMO declined the requests.
On Sunday, July 5, 2020, the Sagada Municipality received information that the team was on their way to Sagada, therefore calling an emergency meeting as recommended by the MDRRMO. According to Sagada Municipality:
Upon the query of the body for any written communication regarding the video shoot, it was found out that an email was sent by Direk Joyce Bernal’s team after office hours on July 3, 2020, Friday. The letter was informing the Mayor of the team coming on the night of July 5, 2020. Attached to the letter was an Authorization Letter signed by DENNIS WILFRED P. PABALAN, Executive Director of the Malacanang Presidential Broadcast Staff-RTVM.
The Municipality of Sagada, through Vice Mayor Felicito Dula, who is also the OIC for Sagada COVID-19 Task Force, stated in a written reply dated on the same day as the emergency meeting, the following reasons why they are disallowing entry of Bernal’s team despite the travel authority issued:
- Section 16 of the Local Government Code of 1991 states that every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly granted within their territorial jurisdiction to ensure and promote the health and safety of its constituents.
- Sangguniang Bayan Resolution No. 110 Series of 2020, a Revised Resolution Governing Tourism, Commerce, and Industry in the Municipality of Sagada during this period of the COVID-19 pandemic states, among others that:
- Closure and/or Suspension of Tourism such as booking of guests by establishments, all tourist sites and other concerns related to tourism; and
- Entry of non-residents coming from red areas is not allowed.
- The strict implementation on the entry of all persons coming outside Mountain Province to Sagada has been effective in maintaining the municipality as a COVID-19 free community;
- Sagada, being a 5th Class Municipality is not ready, specifically our health facilities, to accommodate the presence of a COVID-19 positive case in the locality.
Director Bernal was invited to the emergency meeting after being escorted by PNP to Sagada Cellar Door, where they will be staying after the management of Sagada Heritage Village turned them down. The Local COVID-19 Task Force explained their sentiments to Bernal, to which she expressed her apologies and appealed if they could at least stay the night to rest and prepare for the trip back to Manila. The Task Force agreed and will be conducting monitoring activities to ensure that the management of Sagada Cellar Door will undergo mandatory quarantine.
SOURCE: Sagada Municipality