Window hour for children to go out on Sundays in Baguio proposed

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BAGUIO CITY  – The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, requested Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong to issue an order providing a window hour to allow children and adolescents 21 years old and below to go out on Sundays for their basic and urgent needs as a way of protecting and safeguarding their mental and physical health.

In a resolution, city legislators pointed out that faced with the reality of working from home, temporary unemployment, home schooling of children, and lack of physical contact with other friends and colleagues, it is important that concerned government agencies and the city government also look after the mental and physical health of children and adolescents, especially those 21 years old and below who are not allowed to be out of their residences.

The council pointed out that added to the fear of contracting the contagious virus in the prevailing global pandemic are the significant changes in the daily lives of the people as their movement have been restricted in support of the government’s efforts to contain and slowdown the spread of the illness.

Further, councilors cited that people, especially children and adolescents, are allegedly experiencing fear in the context of the dreaded Coronavirus Disease (COVID=19) 2019 pandemic and there should be available initiatives introduced to the current guidelines to ensure the mental and physical needs of people are effectively and efficiently addressed without sacrificing their compliance to physical distancing, mandatory wearing of face masks, and the conduct of regular dis-infection activities.

Earlier, the national inter-agency task force for the management of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases came out with a ruling that individuals aged 21 and below and those 60 and above, especially those with underlying medical health conditions and co-morbidities, are not allowed to go out of their residences.

In the city, Mayor Magalong allowed senior citizens to go out of their homes on Sundays to attend to their basic and essential needs as they also need to go out of their homes to allow them to unwind in the central business district area or in their desired places.

The council asserted that similar treatment must also be provided to children and adolescents 21 years old and below because of the reported increasing incidents of anxiety among them that might complicate to mental health problems that could add up to the problems of the city government.

Part of the previous actions of the council was the approval of a resolution requesting the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) and the Philippine Mental Health Association (PMHA) to provide virtual counselling sessions to individuals who want to seek much needed consultations because of the alleged proliferation of individuals suffering from psychological anxiety due to the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

City legislators suggested that the time in which the children and adolescents 21 years old and below will be allowed to go out of their residences should be limited to ensure that they will not be roaming around the city when they will be allowed to do so on Sundays.

By Dexter A. See
Photo by Armando M. Bolislis