March 24, 2023


Better communication and coordination play an important role in any kind of relationship.
The hullabaloo among local officials in the BLISTT following the issuance by Mayor Benjamin Magalong of an advisory regulating the entry of residents from La Trinidad, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay to the city until Dec. 4 was attributed to the lack of communication and coordination among the chief executives, as well as in the cascading of information to their respective constituents.
The miscommunication also resulted in an uproar in social media, with various quarters exchanging hurtful words.
But the city was unfazed by criticisms, as it justified the imposition of stricter border regulations is meant to help healthcare frontliners in slowing down the Covid-19 infections by monitoring individuals who frequently cross borders within the BLISTT.
The travel restriction came on the heels of a study by the University of the Philippines Octa Research, which labeled La Trinidad and Itogon along with Baguio City as “Covid-19 high-risk areas”.
True to its commitment to ensure better response against the Covid-19 pandemic, Baguio heeded the recommendations of the research team in imposing localized lockdowns with stricter border controls to prevent further transmission of the virus, aside from the relentless expanded testing and helping out the LISTT towns comply with the government’s strategy to test, isolate, and treat infected populations.
We laud the move of the local chief executives (LCEs) of BLISTT to set aside politics by coming together to discuss the city’s border policy where apologies have also been exchanged after hurtful words were said among concerned parties on social media.
Magalong, who was designated by BLISTT mayors as their spokesperson, has confirmed a series of consultations was conducted but in most of the meetings, only municipal personnel were present to discuss matters regarding the border restriction. It was only in the last meeting, which happened online, that some executives were able to join but might have missed out some important issues on border restrictions due to unstable Internet connection.
Not pointing the blame to anyone, Ma-galong has acknowledged it could have been better if the LCEs met face-to-face to finalize the policy prior to its implementation, so the brouhaha could have been avoided in the first place.
It again boils down to proper communication especially on important policies such as restricting the movement of people in this most difficult time where a lot need to go out of their homes to be able feed their families.
Concerned officials and offices must be reminded anew that most of us are starting to recover from the effects of this pandemic by doing what we can to put food on the table. Even with strict policies or requirements, residents would be willing to comply if they are properly informed ahead of time.
We have seen how people from all walks of life stand in long lines in barangay, municipal, and provincial health offices to secure a medical certificate or clearance if only to comply with protocols set by local and national Inter-Agency Task Force or local government units since the start of the community quarantine in March.
Simply put, people are willing to comply, but it’s up to LCEs to properly implement and communicate these policies to the people so they would know how to adjust.
Filipinos continue to struggle in this pandemic so we call on our leaders not to burden their constituents with the negativities arising from miscommunication, in whatever levels that may be.
We also call on netizens to not be sour-ces of strife, be discerning on what they read about, or be sensible in their comments or social media posts so as not to add more fuel to the fire.
We laud our BLISTT executives for resolving their differences to come up with a solution for the benefit of their already burdened constituents.
This trademark of Baguio and Benguet politicians must be kept and passed down.
In these difficult times, may we continue to be united and maintain an open line of communication, all throughout our fight in this pandemic and beyond.