June 24, 2024

Benguet will closely monitor Baguio City when it opens its borders to tourists starting on Sept. 22 in order to have a basis in crafting its own guidelines.
Gov. Melchor Diclas said the provincial government would soon craft a tourism guideline so that the whole province would have a unified approach in the opening of its tourism programs. The Provincial Tourism Office was tasked to meet with the 13 municipal tourism officers to come up with provincial tourism guidelines.
“If we are to open as one, there should be guidelines to be followed,” Diclas said.
League of Municipalities Benguet chapter President Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan said a meeting with the rest of Benguet mayors is scheduled on Sept. 30. 
“We have one week to observe the opening of Baguio then after the meeting we will decide on what to do,” Palangdan said.
Palangdan said the decision for the opening of tourism will include not only members of the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) Council but also the other towns of Benguet, saying the opening of tourism would have an impact on the health and safety of the people, especially for municipalities that rely on tourism.
On Sept. 14, the LISTT mayors met with the Department of Tourism – Cordillera for the assessment of their readiness to welcome tourists under the new normal.
DOT-CAR Officer-In-Charge Jovi Ganongan said they presented to the mayors the domestic tourism triage; a guiding framework formulated by the agency for evaluating the readiness of LGUs in opening their sites for tourism activities.
This framework considers, among others, the LGU’s compliance to health and safety protocol (capacity), readiness and partnership with stakeholders (support), and competitiveness of tourism product offerings (value). 
Also presented was the community quarantine guidelines for hotel operations being followed by DOT, including the Certificate of Authority to Operate that primary tourism establishments have to secure to be allowed operation while the LGU is still under quarantine.
“This is the time to evaluate and reevaluate the readiness of the LGUs to reopen tourism, considering the need to balance economic recovery vis-à-vis the health and safety of the populace,” Ganongan said. – Ofelia C. Empian