Baguio City is eyeing to open its tourism industry and economy by September, Mayor Benjamin Magalong said on Tuesday.
In a television interview, Magalong noted that opening the City of Pines to tourists would also depend on the situation of nearby regions.
"Based on our timeline, we will open up our economy and tourism sometime in September with the assumption that things normalize in NCR, Region III and Region IV," Magalong said on ANC.
According to Magalong, the number of tourists going to Baguio City before coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) hit the country could go up as high as 500,000.
If Baguio City will be opened in September, Magalong said he plans to initially accept 10% of that number of tourists.
"This time, when we open up, it's just like applying for a visa and that's precisely what we're doing right now with returning Baguio residents... You know the best way to do it is probably to start with about 10% and then start to learn the dynamics of it," Magalong explained.
"Once we're used to managing the 10% and learn the dynamics of it, we start to increase it... 20%, 30%, 40%," he added.
So far, COVID-19 cases in Baguio City have reached 44, of which seven are active cases. Magalong attributed the increasing number of cases due to the return of workers and residents in Baguio City.
"We have a program allowing workers to return to the City of Baguio and in fact we were able to detect two workers who are positive case," he said.
"Another is returning Baguio residents. Again we were able to detect because everyone has to go to triage. Third is 'yung OFW. In fact when we started 'yung OFW sometime in April 17, wala pang 16 nakakarating na OFW. We already detected immediately two OFWs coming from US who are positive," he added.
In April, Baguio City was hailed as a model city for its low count of COVID-19 cases. —Anna Felicia Bajo/KG, GMA News