The Diocese of Baguio has offered free use of spaces in its commercial properties for government agencies to bring their services closer to the public for six months.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong endorsed the proposal to the city departments and other government and government-owned corporations and utilities as it will help decongest their offices and disperse the crowd availing of their services.
The mayor also commended the diocese led by Bishop Victor Bendico saying the scheme is aligned with the current Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) health and safety protocols particularly in avoiding crowding and maintaining physical distancing.
Jennifer Macapungay, leasing and handling operations manager of Mangaywan Corp. which is managing the Porta Vaga Annex and St. Vincent Gym said they are now finalizing arrangements with Social Security System (SSS), Philippine Health Insurance (PhilHealth), Home Development Fund (Pag-IBIG), National Bureau of Investigation Baguio Water District and Benguet Electric Cooperative to set up service kiosks where the public can facilitate payments and other basic transactions.
Executive Asst. V Philip Puzon of the City Mayor’s Office said the city government will deploy one or two offices offering in demand services.
Macapungay said the scheme was hatched in response to the situations and needs of the times.
She said it is envisioned work three ways for the benefit of the tenants who have been grappling with the economic effects of the pandemic, the agencies in need of other outlets to decentralize its services and the community who will benefit from making the services accessible and convenient.
Macapungay said they will assume the responsibility of managing crowd traffic and implementing the health and safety protocols in the establishments.
She said that if plans push through, the agencies can start operating starting Sept. 14.
The Diocese has been active in helping the city government in the campaign against COVID-19. Since May, it has allowed the city government the free use of St. Vincent Gym for its central triage where returning Baguio residents and workers and other people coming in to the city undergo medical assessment prior to entry. – Aileen P. Refuerzo