March 22, 2023

Baguio City’s decision to open its borders to visitors from Region 1 provinces where Covid-19 cases are also constantly on the rise will further test the city government’s response to the pandemic and how will it strike a balance between public health and the economy.
Since Oct. 1, the city has allowed tourists from Region 1 to visit Baguio through the Ridge and Reef Tourism Corridor launched by the Department of Tourism to promote domestic tourism in low risk areas and support the efforts of the local government unit to revive the economy impacted by the pandemic.
We understand the reasons of those who are not amenable to the idea of opening up the city for tourism endeavors yet. We share their fear about the possibility that cases, which are already growing day by day, will rise steadily if we keep on allowing people from other places to come here.
City residents should also understand that there are guidelines that govern the opening of the city’s tourism industry. Like any others who want to come to the city, visitors from the Ilocos Region must first comply with the requirements laid down by the city government before they are allowed entry to Baguio. It’s not like we are opening up our borders to anyone who wants to come in.
Visitors must undergo the tedious process to ensure they are not carriers of the virus prior to their entry to the city and its environs. If they fail to meet the requirements, then for sure, they will not be allowed entry. It’s as simple as that.
We need to have faith in the good intention of this endeavor. We all dread the possibility of getting infected with Covid-19, but we cannot also allow this pandemic to enslave us forever.
If we say this is not the best time to open our doors and start letting the economy recover, then when is?
If we believe the entry of visitors will worsen the situation, let us be reminded that Baguio has been recording local transmissions already, even without the tourists yet from Region 1.
This is why we are constantly reminded to strictly comply with the basic health and safety protocols against the Covid-19.
No one can better protect us from the infection than ourselves.
Surely, the city government would not risk or compromise public health in its bid to reboot the city’s economy through calibrated actions such as the regulated entry of tourists. With most of the students, who are among the driving force of economic growth in the Summer Capital, locked up in their homes or in the provinces, the city needs to strategically address the gloomy picture of the city’s economic performance since March.
Several local government units are observing how things will go. Being the template for other areas that also want to slowly open up their tourism industry, let us cooperate with the city government.
By cooperating, we do not mean we should only focus on the positive side of this endeavor. For sure, there will be flaws along the way reason that we should be vigilant of these and let the city government know about these and demand accountability from our rulers.
This tourism corridor project should be a joint endeavor between the city government, the visitors whom we are welcoming to enjoy our place, and the residents who will bear the impact of this initiative.
We hope that as we welcome tourists, they would also abide by our policies and be responsible enough not only to keep them safe, but more so to protect the residents who allowed them to enjoy what this city has to offer.