A team led by filmmaker Joyce Bernal, who directed the past two State of the Nation Addresses (SONA), visited the scenic highland town to supposedly film background footage for President Duterte’s upcoming SONA despite current restrictions on tourism activities.
The Sagada local government confirmed this in a written statement on Facebook, explaining that a coordinator from Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) requested permission to allow the production team to film video material on the third Monday of July, which local authorities denied.
In the same post, the local government added that they received a letter, sent after office hours on July 3, informing them that Bernal’s team will be arriving on Sunday night, July 5, even after local authorities said no to the shoot.
The Sagada COVID-19 task force even formally addressed the matter, citing the municipality’s Resolution No. 110, which states that all bookings in tourist institutions and guests from high-risk areas like Metro Manila are not allowed.
“Sagada, being a 5th Class Municipality is not ready, specifically our health facilities, to accommodate the presence of a COVID-19 positive case in the locality,” wrote Vice Mayor Felicito Dula, the officer-in-charge of the task force.
As of writing, Sagada maintains a clean COVID-19 tally, with only one case recorded in Mountain Province.
Photo by Luis Quintero/Unsplash