Have you ever heard the saying about one law having been made for the rich and another one for the poor? Well, it may not exactly be the case for socialite Tim Yap who was slapped with a fine after mounting a controversial birthday party in Baguio City. But what if the video from the party never leaked? Could he have totally gotten away with it?
BREACH OF COVID-19 PROTOCOLS
In case you missed it, Tim Yap has been trending online in the past couple of days after a video from his birthday party at the Manor in Baguio City made rounds on social media. Obviously, he and the rest of those who were at the gathering violated certain ordinances implemented in Baguio amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But guess what? Yap and 33 others – including Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong and his wife – were only fined 1,500 pesos each.
To be fair, they were fined 1,000 pesos each for not wearing masks and another 500 pesos for not observing proper physical distancing. But the thing is, the issue had to be on national television before Magalong took action on the matter. So, now, we ask: Was it enough to fine each of them 1,500 pesos considering Magalong – who also happens to be the government’s contact tracing czar – has taken the matter lightly following the evident breach of protocols at the event?
In his defense, Yap said he and the rest of those in attendance made sure had RT-PCR tests with negative results before going to Baguio.
“I wanted to assure the public that we really followed all the LGU protocols bago kami umakyat ng Baguio. Alam po natin na ang Baguio is napaka-strict sa kanilang protocols and they will not allow anyone na umakyat ng Baguio na positive,” he said.
On why they were seen not wearing masks in some of the photos and videos, he said: “Dahil nga dinner, buffet, kakain na sila so tinanggal nila maskara nila. Pagkatapos noon, pumasok ‘yung mga dancers na mag-community dancing, so hindi nila nasuot mask nila. Sumayaw sila doon kaya ‘yun ang nakikita natin sa social media na kumakalat.”
Meanwhile, the local chief executive of Baguio – who attended the party together with his wife Arlene – said in an interview with Teleradyo that he has taken into consideration the “contributions” Yap extended to the City in coming up with his decision.
“Nandoon ho ako. Inimbita ho ako,” he said. Kasi ang nangyari po nu’n prior to that, si Mr. Tim Yap and his group nagpunta po du’n sa aming art exhibit, andami ho nilang nabiling paintings. Alam niyo naman ho ‘yung mga local artists namin naghihikaos. Ang dami ho nilang nabili. That was on a Sunday.”
In the same interview, Magalong revealed that he went as far as reaching out to Yap to tell him that he understands what happened and that he has nothing to worry about.
“Nag-usap na ho kami kahapon. And sinabi ko sa kanya na I understand what happened. Everyone was just so engrossed, was so engaged kaya minsan nakakalimutan namin,” he said.
He went on: “Sabi ko sa kanya, don’t worry about it kasi ang tulong na ginagawa mo sa siyudad ng Baguio promoting, you’ve been saying good words about Baguio, ‘yung tinulong mo sa aming mga artists – we’re considering all of this.”
But Yap did more than just violating protocols as he also committed cultural appropriation as seen in photos he posted on social media. You see, he wore a headdress called ulo di kang-o that only an Ifugao groom can during a wedding.
As if they weren’t enough, a mambunong or shaman also made a blessing chant for him – not to mention the cultural dance presented before him. And for what? Tourism promotion? Or was it all for the ‘gram?
Well, I guess you can easily get away with anything nowadays, right?