Opening of Benguet tourism should be coordinated – Ayong

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MANKAYAN, Benguet – The proposal to open the tourism industry of the various municipalities must be closely coordinated with the provincial government and the concerned municipal governments that are ready to open their tourist destinations for interested visitors to alignment programs and projects that will be conducted.

Mayor Frenzel A. Ayong said that no municipality can stand alone to open its tourism industry for interested visitors thus efforts to entice visitors to visit the various tourist destinations should pass through the provincial government and the provincial inter-agency task force for the management of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases for the synchronization of the guidelines governing the proposed gradual and calibrated opening of the province’s tourism industry.

For the municipality, he claimed that his administration is not yet ready to open the local tourism industry because of the current situation where there has been a surge of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the province and nearby Baguio City over the past several weeks.

Mayor Ayong pointed out that the opening of the local tourism industry will be unfair to the residents because their movement is being restricted as one of the strategies to prevent the spread of the deadly virus in the municipality, thus, Mankayan will remain closed to tourism until such time that there will be the appropriate guidance from the provincial government and the provincial inter-agency task force on the aforesaid matter.

According to him, the serious negative effect of the implementation of the Luzonwide lockdown to the employment and sources of livelihood of the people has been enormous but the resilience of the residents living in the vegetable-producing communities in the municipality has been laudable because agriculture is one of the economic activities allowed to continue even at the height of the enhanced community quarantine.

The municipal chief executive asserted that the existing guidelines governing the prevailing community quarantine guarantees the health and safety of the people, thus, it is important for the residents living in the town’s 12 barangays to simply observe the basic health protocols, particularly the wearing of face masks and shields, the observance of physical distancing and the practice of personal hygiene.

Mankayan is both a mining and agriculture town where the main source of livelihood of the people is vegetable farming for those that are living in the upper barangays and small-scale mining for those that are residing in the lower barangays.

Ayong appealed to the residents to sustain their compliance to the community quarantine guidelines being strictly implemented by the frontliners to help in the efforts of the government to control the spread of the virus in their communities because what matters is for the protection of the health and safety of the people.

He emphasized that the municipal government will continue to observe the latest developments in the areas that started opening their tourist destinations for them to assess the situation whether or not to allow tourism in the locality to be gradually opened for the benefit of the stakeholders.