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Spokesperson Harry Roque invites people to fly to Boracay; celebs, netizens react

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque’s visit to his “happy place, from then ‘til now” did not sit well with netizens.

A trip to the beach is something every Filipino is looking forward to after COVID-19 is taken care of. One person, however, deemed it fit to invite everyone to one of the country’s top tourist spots in the middle of the pandemic.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque’s recent trip to Boracay has been met with dismay from the general public.

Photos of the former human rights lawyer popped up on various news agency accounts earlier today.

Netizens were gobsmacked at how Roque is trying to invite those who miss the island to come for a visit, claiming it is completely safe. Social media, of course, reacted the only way they know how: a does of anger spiced with a bit of laughter.

Roque’s remark telling people to go to one of the country’s top tourist destinations feels like a slap to the face of locally stranded individuals (LSIs). Most LSIs have been stranded in a province for as long as seven months.

Others have died of complications without even seeing a way out of them being stranded.

Prone to early vacations?

This isn’t the first time the Palace mouthpiece has been flagged by netizens for being insensitive and posting photos from tourist spots.

In July, Roque was called out by netizens for visiting Subic Bay’s Ocean Adventure and spending time with the dolphins.

Roque says his trip was not for pleasure because he was merely visiting his businesses in Bataan and thought a trip to Subic was okay.

In inviting people to Boracay, Roque also did not take into account how cost-prohibitive a leisure trip to top Philippine destinations will be while with the pandemic. Most tourist destinations and their LGUs require an RT-PCR test to be done on the traveler 2 days prior to their arrival.

Commercial flights are also scarce, with travel authorities needed to travel between a tourist destination and Metro Manila due to the capital being placed under a general community quarantine. Tourist destinations are currently under a more relaxed modified general community quarantine.

Cases for COVID-19 have also continued to rise, with the Philippines breaking into the top 20 countries with the highest number of positive COVID-19 cases, behind Italy—the first Western country to declare an outbreak.

Latest data from the Department of Health puts the country’s case count at 324,762 as of 4 pm today, October 5, 2020. 273,123 people have been deemed recovered, while 5,840 have died from COVID-19 in the country. 45,799 cases remain active as of today.

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