'Dream now, travel later': Baguio to remain closed for tourists

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 03 2020 10:17 AM | Updated as of May 03 2020 02:41 PM

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MANILA - Summer tourist destination Baguio City will not be open to tourists anytime soon, its mayor said Sunday.

The city, currently under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), has prepared a plan to gradually lift measures against COVID-19, mayor Benjamin Magalong said.

"Hindi pa ho namin papayagan. Meron kaming transition plan para sa ECQ. Di po namin papayagan na basta-basta aakyat mga turista dito, pati returning residents," he told radio DZMM.

"Dream now, travel later na lang po muna sila," he told travelers.

The city will prioritize the resumption of construction activities when it goes into general community quarantine, Magalong said. 

This will be followed by the normalization of government operations and opening of key economic sectors, then gradual resumption of mass transportation, small establishments like restaurants and retail shops, and finally scaled-down entertainments and worship gathering, according to the mayor.

The city is suffering some P38 million income loss every month it is on lockdown, but it has prepared a stimulus package for the transportation sector and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), Magalong said.

"Malaki po ang impact. Kung ikukumpara niyo po last year, February to May malaki talaga ang aming tourism gross receipt--P1.4 trillion last year. Ngayon ho talagang napakaliit," he said.

"Kakayanin pa naman natin, nakikita pa naman natin na may projects pa tayong hindi pa na-obligate. May standby fund na P150 million...We have enough to cover us for the next 4 months."

As of Sunday, the city has 30 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 14 recoveries and 1 death, according to Magalong.

The Philippines has so far recorded 8,928 COVID-19 cases, including 1,124 recoveries and 603 deaths.