‘It was not my intention to offend’ —Harry Roque on swimming with the dolphins

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Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Thursday said “it was not my intention to offend” the public when he visited a resort in Subic, Zambales and swam with the dolphins,  during the pandemic after receiving backlash on social media.

Pictures on the Ocean Adventure Facebook page earlier showed Roque swimming with dolphins.

The post has been deleted.

Roque said he stopped by the resort on his way to Mariveles, Bataan where he had some personal  agricultural businesses to attend to even before the lockdown was imposed due to COVID-19.

“I was trying to wrap up po ‘yung mga negosyo ko noong wala pa ako sa gobyerno. Hindi ko naman po magawa nung sarado po ang Bataan (I was trying to wrap up my businesses after I left government. I couldn’t do it when Bataan was still on lockdown.),” Roque said during an interview with ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.

Roque said he was the only visitor of the resort at the time and that it was the town’s first day of modified general community quarantine.

“Wala pong nalabag pero kung meron pong na-offend, paumanhin po. ‘Di po natin intensyon na tayo’y may ma-offend po (There were no violations but if there were people who were offended, I apologize, it was not my intention to offend.),” he said.

“I can assure po dahil paulit-ulit naman nating sinasabi ang rules pero paumahin pa rin po kung hindi nagustuhan ang mga larawan (I can assure this since I have been repeatedly announcing rules but still, I apologize if the people did not like the photos.),” Roque stressed.

In a Palace press briefing, Roque reiterated his apology and denied allegations that he held a party.

“Hindi po ako nag-party, nag-iisa po ako, ang kasama ko po apat na dolphins (I didn’t have a party. I was alone with four dolphins.),” Roque said.

“Kung mayroon nalabag po ako sa social distancing, ang katabi ko naman po mga dolphins, hindi naman mga tao  (If I violated any social distancing rules, I was with dolphins and not people.),” he said.

“First time po kasi na MGCQ (modified general community quarantine) na ang area, at even under GCQ (general community quarantine), swimming is allowed because it is a non-contact sport. Walang nalabag na social distancing, ang katabi ko naman ay dolphin, hindi tao,” he said.

Roque said that he only visited Bataan to check on his former business ventures, including hog raising, which he said have gone bankrupt due to COVID-19.

“It was a side trip,” Roque said, referring to his visit to the Subic resort.

Under MGCQ protocols, tourist destinations and other leisurely activities are allowed but only at a 50% capacity. /Stacy Ang

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