Malacañang said Tuesday it respects the decision of the municipality of Sagada, Mountain Province, to reject the request of a delegation from Malacañang Presidential Broadcast Staff, including director Joyce Bernal, to shoot videos in the famous tourist spot amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Presidential spokesma Harry Roque said while the team had secured health certificates and travel authorities, they complied with the rules of the Sagada local government.
“Joyce Bernal and RTVM respected the decision of Sagada. I repeat, they had health certificates and travel authorities, but when they were not allowed to enter, they did not insist,” Roque said.
In a Facebook post on Monday, the Sagada local government said the request of the RTVM was rejected both by the Office of the Sagada mayor and the Sagada Municipal Disaster Risk and Management Office.
They said Bernal’s team sent an email about the conduct of the video shoot to the Office of the Sagada mayor “after office hours” on July 3. It also said Bernal and her team would be arriving in Sagada by the night of July 5.
The Sagada officials, however, only received word that Bernal’s team would be arriving on July 5.
That prompted the mayor and the Municipal Disaster Risk and Management Officer (MDRRMO) to convene a meeting with the Local COVID-19 Task Force, which ultimately decided against the request of Bernal and her team.
“While the meeting was ongoing, the advance party of Direk Joyce were being escorted by our Phil. National Police to Sagada Cellar Door where they will be staying, after the management of Sagada Heritage Village turned them down following the local guideline that all tourism establishments continue to be suspended/closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the post read.
The Sagada LGU also wrote to Bernal's team, saying the strict implementation on the entry of people coming from outside Mountain Province to Sagada had been effective in maintaining a COVID-19-free community.
Earlier, Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte was expected to deliver his fifth State-of-the-Nation Address by either physically showing up at the House of Representatives Session Hall at the Batasang Pambansa or virtually.