THE newly installed head of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 blamed the rain for the mass gathering during an activity in Madridejos, Bantayan Island on Nov. 27, 2020.
PRO 7 Director Brig. Gen. Ronnie Montejo also cleared local police of any liability regarding the incident.
Montejo came up with the conclusion after receiving the investigation report provided by Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) Director Col. Aladdin Collado.
Based on the report, Montejo believes local police and the Municipal Government of Madridejos made the necessary preparation to ensure that quarantine measures were in place when the Suroy-Suroy SMB (Sta. Fe, Madridejos, Bantayan) Escapade made a stop in the town.
However, a sudden downpour forced onlookers to break protocol to avoid getting wet, he said.
The mass gathering earned the ire of netizens who saw the photos uploaded on social media.
“From what I saw and read based on the report, the activity started with everyone complying with protocol. But all hell broke loose when the rains fell. It was only normal for onlookers to head for the tent to seek shelter,” Montejo said in Cebuano.
In the same report, the CPPO recommended to the Provincial Government to prepare for all contingencies, including changes in the weather, in future Suroy-Suroy Sugbo activities to avoid a repeat of what happened in Madridejos.
Montejo said local police assigned to look after an activity’s security and safety should also ensure that participants observe protocol to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Before the activity, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia met with local police and local officials of the three towns in Bantayan Island for a coordinating conference.
Meanwhile, Montejo said he already forwarded the CPPO’s investigation report to Philippine National Police Chief Gen. Debold Sinas.
Sinas had ordered the PRO 7 to investigate the matter. (AYB / JKV)