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Baguio residents wary of tourists as city opens on Sept. 22

Baguio city residents on Wednesday expressed uncertainty and fear over the local government’s plan to open the city to tourists from Region I amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to Darlene Cay’s report on “24 Oras,” visitors from La Union, Pangasinan, Ilocos Norte, and Ilocos Sur will be allowed into the city starting Tuesday, September 22.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong said this was so the city’s economy may recover after being heavily affected by the pandemic. As DIY trips are not yet allowed, the local government are coordinating with the Department of Tourism.

“Kailangan po kasi para may kita po gano’n, pero may part pa rin ’syempre na kaba po kasi ayun nga po, syempre pandemic pa rin po. Pero ‘yun okay lang naman po. Kailangan po, eh,” John Paul Tarrayo, a boat renter, said.

“Pero syempre natatakot din kasi, syempre ‘yung mga turista hindi mo naman alam kung saan galing. Edi, mamaya mahawa, hindi mo rin alam,” Marilyn Ancheta, a vendor, said.

Another resident, meanwhile, wished the plan will not continue to avoid the spread of the virus.

“‘Wag po muna sana para iwas kwan. Sa mga biglang- pag close din ng bagyo baka biglang may sakit din, babalik ulit ‘yung COVID. Nakakatakot naman,” Erwin Ben said.

Magalong said that the city’s tourism may lose profit amounting to P4 billion should they not open the city to tourists. At present, P1.7 billion had been lost from tourism revenues since March. -Joahna Lei Casilao/NB, GMA News