January 31, 2023

Baguio City is formulating its pandemic exit plan and the focus will not be on going back to the old normal but on the new normal way of living.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong, who directed the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO) to draft the exit plan last Feb. 15, said the city even while busy with the control and management demands of the pandemic had been preparing for the recovery or shift to the new normal phase of the pandemic and the exit plan would chart ways of doing it.
CDRRMO Officer-in-Charge Antonette Anaban said the exit plan will outline ways to gradually transition to recovery phase instead of an abrupt and total egress from the pandemic.
“This plan will not be about us totally exiting the pandemic because from all indications, this health problem is going to stay for a while still. I don’t think we can go back to the old normal so we will focus on the normal, which means that some health and safety measures that we are implementing while on quarantine will have to be carried over as new normal rules,” Anaban said.
While some rules will be retained, others will be lifted as restructuring and adjustments of protocols are done for the new normal phase.
It will also include assessment of facilities used, with those not anymore needed during the new normal to be surrendered eventually like some of the isolation facilities, Anaban said.
“The main thrust will be to gradually transition to less strict rules to ensure health and safety of all and at the same time facilitate the city’s recovery,” she said.
The mayor also instructed City Planning and Development Office Coordinator Donna Tabangin to ramp up engagements with the business groups to come up with extensive inputs on the economic recovery plan to make it inclusive and responsive to the needs of the sector being the engine of the city’s economic recovery.
The mayor said while this is in the works, the city is focusing on creating opportunities to rev up business while at the same time maintaining the established health systems.
He said they are encouraging sectors to organize events designed to entice visitors and at the same time promote health and safety tourism.
Apart from the event attractions, the mayor said this year’s recovery thrust will also focus on the implementation of various strategic projects, which he said are expected to generate thousands of employment and catalyze the economic revival, all without compromising the health and safety of the residents and tourists. – Aileen P. Refuerzo