The Department of Tourism (DOT) remains committed in supporting the Baguio City government in ensuring the health and safety of the locals and visitors after independent experts from the OCTA Research group flagged the country’s Summer Capital as one of the “hotspots of serious concern” amid the surge in COVID-19 cases.
Based on the report of OCTA Research dated Monday but released to the media on Tuesday, Baguio ranked fifth behind Davao City, Quezon City, Manila and Pasig in terms of new COVID-19 cases. This, as the group recorded an average of 44 new cases daily from Nov. 8 to 14 in Baguio. Despite ranking fifth, the city’s attack rate, however, is at 11.2 percent, significantly higher than the four cities.
As of Nov. 17, the Baguio City Public Information Office also reported that the country’s Summer Capital has 482 total COVID-19 cases, 22 of which are new cases. Mayor Benjamin Magalong has also been imposing provisional lockdowns in several areas where a spike in cases has been observed.
Among the LGUs identified by the OCTA Research group, Davao City topped the list, while Makati City, La Trinidad and Itogon in Benguet, Batangas City, Lucena and Lopez in Quezon, and Pagadian City in Zamboanga del Sur are among those which have been classified as high-risk areas.
Other town mayors in Benguet province recently expressed willingness to join the expanded travel bubble in a bid to start economic recovery.
“The Department of Tourism (DOT) recognizes the able leadership of Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong and fully supports all the efforts of the local government unit as it implements measures to ensure the health and safety of the locals and visitors,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a statement, citing that the DOT will also continue its support to Baguio in terms of tourism marketing and promotions.
“Baguio remains a premier destination especially for our domestic travelers and the Department will exert all efforts to ensure the slow but sure recovery of the industry and help bring livelihood back,” she added.
The city first reopened to tourists from Region 1 in early October and later on expanded the travel bubble from tourists in Luzon, including Metro Manila.
However, some residents remain hesitant to the reopening because of the spike in COVID-19 cases.