December 4, 2022

After agreeing to limit travels within the boundaries of Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay, the Benguet Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Infectious Diseases has requested a window in the implementation of the inter-municipal border regulation policy.
In his letter to Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Ma-galong dated Feb. 2, PIATF chair and Benguet Gov. Melchor Diclas has asked the former to allow the unhampered entry of government and private employees coming from the LISTT to Baguio.
In return, residents of Baguio who work in LISTT will also be allowed to enter without the earlier agreement of the BLISTT mayors.
Diclas requested Magalong that instead of requiring these employees to present a medical clearance or certificate, they need only show their company identification cards.
Days before the Cordillera was placed under general community quarantine, the BLISTT Governing Council passed a resolution adopting uniform policies on border regulations.
The border regulation was adopted to mitigate the spread of the Covid-19 and its variant, the B117, which was detected in La Trinidad and Bontoc, Mountain Province.
“We find this remedy appropriate in order not to hamper day-to-day transactions in all offices that will cause delay in the delivery of service to the public. We believe there are measures we can take to ease the situation without mandatory health protocols,” Diclas said.
Magalong denied the PIATF’s request. He said he will only agree to ease the regulations if Benguet improves its contact tracing and testing system.
“We have to be strict. We will continue implementing the regulations. We (BLISTT mayors) already agreed to this when we passed the joint resolution, (last week of January)” Magalong said.
Lawyer Althea Alberto, executive assistant to Magalong, added only the BLISTT Governing Council can amend the resolution on border regulation protocols.
“The (Baguio) mayor, although he happens to be the chair of the Governing Council cannot unilaterally decide. This is a collective decision of the BLISTT mayors,” Alberto said.
Cordillera is under GCQ from Feb. 1 to 28 following the sudden spike of cases and detection of the B117 SARS-CoV2 variant in the region. As of Feb. 2, the region logged 176 new Covid-19 cases with Kalinga having the most cases in one day at 108, followed by Mountain Province with 24 cases and Benguet with 17 cases.
Three deaths – an 82-year-old female and 85-year-old and 11-year-old males – all recorded in Kalinga have also been reported by the Department of Health-CAR. – Rimaliza A. Opiña