MANKAYAN, Benguet – Mayor Frenzel A. Ayong initiated the discussion among local chief executives of the four towns in Northern Benguet for the possibility of opening localized tourism in their respective areas of jurisdiction to allow the economy in the said areas to gradually resume.
Ayong, in an interview aired over One for the Road afternoon program on RPN-DZBS 1368 KHZ Tuesday, claimed that it is now important for local governments to start easing up on the implementation of the prevailing community quarantine protocols for people to be able to move around even within their localities and nearby places, like in the municipalities of northern Benguet composed of Buguias, Bakun, Mankayan, Kibungan and possibly Atok, to allow the local economy to slowly recover from the slump created by the Luzonwide lockdown.
He admitted there might be people from Mankayan who might not have visited the tourist destinations in Bakun, Buguias and Kibungan or vice versa, thus it is important for the concerned local governments to start opening localized tourism to allow their constituents to move around the said towns.
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The municipal mayor asserted the opening of the said municipalities to localized tourism is without prejudice to the strict implementation of the health and safety standards currently being enforced and the community quarantine protocols crafted for such purpose to prevent the rapid spread of the dreaded Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
According to him, it is important for the concerned municipal governments to make their constituents fully aware of the tourism destinations in their places so they can market the same to prospective visitors once the prevailing ban on tourism-related activities will be lifted by the national and local inter-agency task forces on emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.
At present, Bakun and Mankayan have one confirmed COVID-19 case each while Buguias has six cases who were able to recover from the deadly virus.
Mayor Ayong pointed out that tourism is one of the major economic drivers of the different municipalities in the province as each of the towns have their unique destinations thus it is necessary to start easing up on tourism for local residents only to allow them to recover and bring back the vitality of the economic activities.
He stated that the concerned municipal officials will discuss among themselves the appropriate guidelines to implemented in their areas of jurisdiction once they agree on opening localized tourism for people to be aware of the important protocols that must be observed at all times, like the mandatory wearing of face masks when in public places, he observance of physical distancing and the constant practice of personal hygiene.
Mayor Ayong said municipal officials are keeping their fingers crossed on the possibility that the prevailing community quarantine will be elevated to the new normal so that there will be close to normalcy in the lives of the people of the province.
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