March 2, 2024

He may have cancelled the opening parade of this year’s Baguio Flower Festival and postponed the holding of the Cordillera regional athletic meet but this does not mean that all major activities and events in the city have to be stopped.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong on Wednesday has rejected calls for the cancellation of the holding of night market along Harrison Road as a measure to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). He said shutting down all areas where the public congregate will only create a false sense of panic.
“Kapag ipinatigil natin ‘yung night market, ipasara na rin ang mga supermarket. Isara na rin lahat. We cannot be hostage to the (novel) coronavirus scare,” Magalong said.
On the same day, the Public Information Division of the City Mayor’s Office belied the statement issued by the Department of National Defense citing that in accordance with Magalong’s order of a “lockdown” in Baguio, the Philippine Military Academy alumni homecoming has been reset.
“Baguio City is not on lockdown. Only the postponement of government-sponsored events that would attract large crowds in the next three weeks was announced as a preventive measure against the 2019 novel coronavirus,” the statement reads.
The mayor said he does not have to go to the extent of cancelling all crowd-drawing activities for the local government of Baguio has in place a surveillance system, Barangay Emergency Response Team, strategic, and mitigating measures to act on any eventuality.
He said his decision last week to cancel the flowerfest opening parade, Session Road closure, and postponement of the Caraa is a proactive measure meant to protect the public. The mayor said this is the reason why he did not yet make any announcement regarding the holding of the streetdancing and floral float parades scheduled Feb. 29 and March 1.
Magalong said he will issue his succeeding directives based on the recommendation of the Department of Health, the City Health Services Offices, and experts in the medical field.
The mayor said he is aware those in the business sector are complaining about the downside of his cancellation of some big events in the city, but he stood by his decision that it is better to be proactive.
“It is better to overreact, kaysa naman magsisi sa huli. The decision is not based on political undertones. It’s prudent and the need of the time,” Magalong said.
Following the mayor’s announcement, the Philippine Military Academy has, for the meantime, stopped the entry of tourists.
In Benguet and in Kalinga, some local chief executives have also issued directives suspending tourism-related activities in their localities.
Atok Mayor Raymundo Sarac suspended tourism activities in the municipality, beginning Feb. 6.
Aside from the suspension, Tinglayan, Kalinga Mayor Sacrament Gumilab also created the municipal novel coronavirus task force.
In Abra, Gov. Joy Bernos also created a TF that will be in charge of handling cases related to the 2019-nCoV. – Rimaliza A. Opiña