February 1, 2023

The threat of the coronavirus disease-2019 (Covid-19), now a pandemic as per World Health Organization declaration, is real.
For the first time since its inception, the annual staging of Panagbenga Festival has been cancelled, along with other major events and activities in Baguio, following the surge of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country that has so far resulted in three deaths.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong made the pronouncement through an executive order issued March 10 based on the assessment of the inter-agency task force of the local situation and pursuant to Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s Proclamation 922 declaring a state of public health emergency due to cases of local transmission throughout the country.
The executive order directed all major public events in connection to the Panagbenga 2020, including the grand street, float parades, and Session Road in Bloom, will no longer be staged.
It instructed the organizers of all other events being conducted to wind up their activities and were reminded to strictly follow all the Covid-19 precautionary guidelines as prescribed by the Department of Health.
The operation of the night market along Harrison Road is also suspended from March 10 to 25, subject to further guidelines and directives from the national government and upon assessment by the interagency task force.
The Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association Meet and the closure of Session Road every Sunday, the latter supposed to be implemented whole of March, are also suspended until further notice.
Baguio Rep. Mark Go called on residents to be proactive, vigilant, and compassionate. “With the cancellation of Panagbenga and other events in our city, let us also take responsibility in preventing the spread in whatever means we are capable of. Stay in the loop by subscribing to reliable sources such as the Baguio Inter-agency Task Force, the DOH, and WHO,” Go said.
Barangay health emergency response teams are reminded to implement the directive to monitor and survey persons who have recent travel history to the Covid-19-affected areas.
All residents and tourists are urged to observe proper hygiene and sanitation to prevent local transmission.
“Doon sa mga nagtatanong kung kailan magre-resume o papayagan (ang mga events), I always say na very fluid ang situation, we really don’t know. Anything can happen in the next few days. Looking into the trend now, I think it’s going to escalate. Let’s wait for developments in the domestic and global scene. With this and after consultation with the DOH, saka tayo magde-decide on what would be the next course of action 14 days after the pronouncement,” Magalong said in last week’s briefing.
He said there is no lockdown in the city at the moment, but if it so warrants or in the event a Covid-19 case is suspected or confirmed, an assessment of the extent of the patient’s contact history shall be made. The need for lockdown, either within the concerned area, barangay, or citywide will be decided upon.
“Mabuti na mag-overreact tayo kaysa magsisi tayo sa huli. Some people are accusing us of overreacting, but I believe it’s the right thing to do. It’s better to be proactive about this,” the mayor said.
Magalong was set to issue another order requiring transport companies, those involved in accommodation business like hotels, dormitories, transient houses, and food establishments to wear masks or alternative preventive devices in light of supply shortage, especially among food handlers.
Continuous coordination is being done with bus companies regarding proper hygiene and use of non-contact thermometers among passengers.
Along with concerned city department heads, he met representatives of hotels and restaurants and briefed them on the Covid-19 situation and preventive measures implemented by the local government on Wednesday.
The city government continues to work closely with the Department of Education, which was expected to issue guidelines on the conduct of classes and precautions.
“Most important now is vigilance. Everyone should have heightened awareness that this is a real threat for us,” the mayor said. – Hanna C. Lacsamana