THE province of Bohol in Central Visayas and the city of Baguio in the Cordillera region are being considered as pilot areas for the implementation of “new normal” policies.
Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the country’s national action plan against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), said they will make preparations in June or July for the reopening of the local tourism sectors in these two areas.
Both Bohol and Baguio were among the top tourist destinations in the country prior to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
Galvez said Bohol is being considered because it has no confirmed case of coronavirus infection.
Baguio, on the other hand, has been cited for its effective contact tracing measures.
Galvez also noted that Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong has allowed the reopening of businesses except hotels and restaurants. Public transportation also remains suspended.
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Galvez said Bohol and Baguio were among the areas he visited to ascertain the situation on the ground on instructions of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“We saw that Bohol will be one of our candidates for the new normal because they’re still Covid-free and considering that most of their businesses came from tourism,” Galvez reported to Duterte Thursday evening, May 28.
“We’re planning that we will have preparations for local tourism this coming June or July, and we will be opening up if the situation improves, they will open up tourism again in Bohol,” he added.
In Baguio, Galvez said the plan is to allow some restaurants to resume dine-in services as soon as the city shifts to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) on June 1.
Beginning June 1, only Metro Manila, Davao City, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Albay and Pangasinan will remain under general community quarantine (GCQ).
The rest of the country will transition to MGCQ in preparation for the new normal.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has yet to release the guidelines for MGCQ, a more relaxed form of GCQ.
Under GCQ, some public transportation systems are allowed to resume operations at limited capacity to ensure physical distancing and more businesses, including non-essential but non-leisure establishments, are allowed to reopen. (Marites Villamor-Ilano/SunStar Philippines)