By Minka Klaudia Tiangco
As the country continues to fight the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), tourism in the city of Manila can wait.
This was what Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said when he was asked about how the Philippine capital will adjust to the “new normal” as parts of the country eases into the general community quarantine (GCQ).
“We will never perish. It’s gonna be there, history and all other things,” he said in a virtual press briefing Sunday.
Domagoso said they will comply with the guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) on which establishments will be allowed to reopen when the GCQ takes effect.
He assured residents and visitors of the city that all tourist spots will be cleaned and disinfected should the IATF-EID deem it okay to reopen.
The city government will also continue its efforts in reviving some of Manila’s “forgotten” tourist destinations and heritage sites, Domagoso said.
“We go to the normalization and follow which establishments are allowed to reopen. So, if tourism or business with regards to tourism will be included, it’s okay. We’re going to clean it and protect it,” he said. “Were we affected by the quarantine? Yes. Will we be affected if the tourist spots will not be allowed to reopen? Yes. But we will protect and revive it for sure.”
Since last year, the mayor has been expressing plans to boost tourism in the country’s capital.
Some landmark locations in Manila, such as Jones Bridge, Intramuros, and the Andres Bonifacio Monument Park, have undergone cleaning and beautification by the city government.
The Metropolitan Theater, dubbed the “Grand Old Dame of Manila” that underwent renovation after years of decline, was initially scheduled to reopen to the public this month.
The tourism industry was one of the hardest hit industries after parts of the country were placed under quarantine and flight operations were suspended due to the pandemic.