June 17, 2024

There will be no business as usual scenario in Baguio even when the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is lifted in the city either on April 30 or May 15.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the city government, which is finalizing its plan of transition to bring Baguio back to its feet after the disruption brought about by the ECQ, will not completely allow the resumption of all the industries that are vital to the city’s economic activities.

Magalong said the city government will ease up on sectors phase by phase after April 30, which is the supposed culmination of the ECQ in Luzon.

The first sectors to resume activities will be the construction and the transport industries.

“Do not expect a complete easing up on all sectors. That is not going to happen,” Magalong said during his online briefing on April 22.

Magalong said he will allow the construction industry to go back in full swing because of the need to finish critical infrastructure projects such as drainage and sewer systems, retaining walls, and road pavements to prevent inconveniences that may happen during the rainy months.

“In the past days when there were heavy downpours, there were retaining walls that were damaged. We need to prepare for the coming rainy season,” he said.

Magalong added to support the construction industry, hardware stores, from which most construction materials are procured, will also be allowed to operate on a daily basis. Currently, these establishments are only allowed to open from Thurdays to Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The mayor said the city will also ease up on the transport sector, together with the continued operation of auto supply stores.

The operations of public utility vehicles, especially cabs, were totally stopped since the ECQ was imposed. Jeepneys are currently allowed to ferry passengers but on a limited capacity and for twice a week only.

Magalong said there is a need to look into the welfare of the 3,334 taxi cab drivers, of which only 11 units are authorized to ferry passengers in emergency cases.

For jeepneys, around 250 of the 4,800 units in the city are operating, according to Magalong.

“We need to ease up on transportation, it’s the vein of any economy,” he said.

The city government is expected to have finalized its transition plan by April 24 to guide the city on how to go about its operations after April 30.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has recommended to the President that Benguet province will be one of the areas to be covered by the ECQ extension up to May 15, which also covers Baguio.

But this may change depending on the assessment of the IAT-EID which has until April 30 to decide on whether to include Benguet (and Baguio) in the May 15 ECQ extension. – Jane B. Cadalig