Nagpaliwanag si Tim Yap ukol sa engrandeng birthday party niya na idinaos sa isang mamahaling hotel sa Baguio City nitong nakaraang weekend.
Pinuna ng maraming netizens ang mga kumalat na larawan at videos na kuha sa nasabing party dahil hindi umano nasunod ang itinalaga ng gobyerno na minimum health protocols ngayong patuloy pa ring nilalabanan ng mundo ang COVID-19 pandemic.
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Sa live episode ng The Final Word ng CNN Philippines ngayong Martes ng gabi, January 26, nagpaunlak si Tim ng panayam sa host nitong si Rico Hizon.
Habang tumatakbo ang interview, ipinakita kay Tim ang clips na kuha sa party kung saan dikit-dikit ang kanyang mga bisita at nagsasayawan pa.
Makikita ring walang suot na masks ang karamihan sa mga ito.
Sabi ni Tim tungkol dito, “You know, what you are seeing right now, of course, it looks like people are partying, people are dancing, there’s no social distancing in some photos, no masks.
“Of course, everything looks like it's a party. But it was edited to be that way."
Ipinaliwanag niyang ang pagsasayaw ng kanyang guests ay hindi inaasahan dahil bigla raw nagsayawan ang cultural dancers at hinila sila upang sumayaw rin.
“What actually happened behind this video is that everybody, they were on their way to eat, to have their dinner.
"And then all of a sudden, the cultural dance happened. And so, the cultural dancers pulled everybody, including myself who got carried away, we invited everybody to do the cultural community dance.
“That’s what you are seeing right now on the video," saad ng 44-year-old eventologist.
Ngunit bago raw ito at kahit pagkatapos ay sinunod nila ang safety protocols, lalo pa't mahigpit daw ang Baguio City pagdating dito.
Ipinakita rin sa interview ang ilang larawan kung saan naka-face mask ang mga bisita at maging ang performers sa party ni Tim.
"Prior to that, everybody was... we all followed the safety protocols or the safety standards.
"Everybody was tested prior to going up because as you all know, Baguio is very strict when it comes to entry," sabi ni Tim.
Bago raw ang party, sinabi ni Tim sa kanyang welcome message na mahigpit na sundin ang safety protocols laban sa COVID-19.
“And everybody was given the proper PPE, even face shields.
“Throughout the weekend, when we went around, we really were exercising all the proper safety standards.”
Lahat din daw ng aktibidad nila ay sinu-supervise ng local government unit (LGU). Lahat daw sila ay sumailalim sa COVID-19 test bago makapasok ng Baguio.
Dagdag pa niya, “It’s sad that what’s being magnified is... it’s really sad, but there is no excuse for that.
“I apologize for that. There’s no excuse for not wearing your masks. We have to be at all times really vigilant.
“We have to really take care of each other. Not in any of my wishes to endanger anyone.”
Naintindihan naman daw ng 44-year-old eventologist na kakaiba ang sitwasyon natin ngayon.
Sabi pa niya, “Again, I am very, very sorry for those videos that came out that we didn’t have the masks.”
FOR local TOURISM
Iniimbestigan na ng Department of Tourism-Cordillera Administrative Region (DOT-CAR) ang nangyaring salu-salo sa The Manor at Camp John Hay.
Pero ayon kay Tim, ligtas naman ang pinagdausan nila dahil nasa labas sila ng hotel.
"Every activity was supervised. We worked with the people of Baguio, from the LGUs, to the people, to the venue.
“Our venue was outdoors... We were about 30 in the venue... it's a roofed tent in a 5,000-square-meter garden that is an open area and outdoors.
"We made sure that it wasn't indoors and it wasn't packed."
Magkakalayo rin daw sila ng mga upuan noong dinner.
Sinang-ayunan naman ni Tim ang komento ng isang netizen na ang pagiging negatibo sa COVID test ay hindi nangangahulugang babalewalain na nila ang protocols.
"I totally agree to that," pakli niya.
"It wasn't in our intention to defy any safety protocols.
"We all know how strict Baguio is. Before you get to enter Baguio, you need to present a negative test.
"Two weeks after this dinner, we check on everybody, and we will not hide this because we are very wary... contact tracing is really important to us.
"So nobody, contrary to maybe social media accounts that are spreading false rumors about what we did, everybody is COVID negative in our group."
Sa hiwalay na panayam ng ABS-CBN News kay Tim, sinabi nitong ang pagdadaos niya ng party sa Baguio ay para i-promote ang local na turismo.
“Ang pakay po noon is to promote Baguio as a destination. Sa akin, yun ang hangarin ko talaga. Para mag-push ng local tourism.
"Kung makikita mo social media ko, lahat talaga, yun ang ginagawa ko for the past few months.
"I’m discovering and rediscovering iba’t ibang parte ng Pilipinas na sana ma-discover ng ating mga kababayan.
“It was really a gathering to promote local tourism, crafts of Baguio, [its] arts and culture…
"Ang talagang goal namin, ang aim namin is to help restart the economy, reopen the economy at ma-promote ang local tourism."
Nagkaroon ng backlash ang party ni Tim dahil ang kaibigan niyang si Raymond Gutierrez ay nauna na ring nagdaos ng birthday party sa Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Taguig City, kung saan hindi rin daw nasunod ang safety protocols.
Ipinasara ng local na pamahalaan ang restaurant na pinagdausan ng birthday party ni Raymond kung saan isa si Tim sa mga dumalo.