In light of the COVID-19 global pandemic, there have been arising reports of offers to middlemen in exchange of a commission which as a result are resulting in the marking up of room rates on the urgent accommodations needed for the enhanced community quarantine.
As such, a stern warning has been issued by the Department of Tourism (DOT) to all individuals and groups who are allegedly taking advantage of the room allotments specifically designated for repatriated Overseas Filipino Workers.
The DOT firmly denounces these practices as it strongly encourages businesses to offer their best rates possible with no leeway for third-party negotiators.
DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, who was notified by the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA), confirmed of receiving reports that third party individuals and groups have been approaching accommodation establishments such as hotels, resorts, pension houses, and serviced apartments to negotiate for markup rates that are intended for the use of recently repatriated OFWs.
Secretary Puyat sternly warns both the third-party negotiators and colluding businesses on the legal repercussions of these opportunistic activities that take advantage of the OFWs and even the stranded tourists.
This warning is in unison with the provisions of Administrative Order No. 2020-001-B or the Amended Implementing Rules and Regulations Governing the Operations of Hotels and other Accommodation Establishments During the Period of Enhanced Community Quarantine issued on March 30, 2020, stating:
“Section 12. Lowest Possible Rates. – Covered Accommodation Establishments are strongly encouraged to provide the lowest possible rates to guests, especially to OFWs and Employees from Neighboring Basic Establishments. Those reported to be engaging in opportunistic pricing may be subject to the relevant penalties under applicable laws, rules, and regulations.”
To date, the Department of Foreign Affairs and other government agencies have repatriated over 10,000 OFWs from all around the World.