Benguet Caretaker Congressman Eric Go Yap appealed to Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong to consider or repeal the travel restrictions ordered by the mayor to residents of the towns of La Trinidad, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay, or LISTT area in Benguet to enter Baguio City.
The congressman cited the willingness of Benguet local governments to allow tourists to go to Baguio City when the city reopens its tourism sector.
He explained that on the other hand, Baguio City helped and provided isolation facilities when the COVID-19 case suddenly escalated in Itogon, Benguet.
Because of this, Yap believes that Benguet and Baguio City consider each other as a family where there exists respect and unity.
Therefore, the congressman requested that the travel restrictions imposed by Magalong on the residents of the LISTT area to enter Baguio City be reviewed or revoked.
Yap insisted that he does not oppose the strict way to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 but said that both Benguet and Baguio City want the virus to be eradicated so that adequate planning for a win-win solution is needed.
Benguet Caretaker Congressman Eric Go Yap's official statement on the travel restrictions ordered by Baguio City Mayor Magalong. (November 20, 2020, via Baguio Midland Courier)
In true spirit of Bayanihan, I appeal to the local government unit of Baguio City through Mayor Benjamin Magalong to recall the advisory restricting travel of Benguet residents to Baguio City particularly those coming from the municipalities of La Trinidad, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay.
When Baguio City opened its doors to tourists from other regions, Benguet LGUs allowed their passage and did not impose restrictions for their entry. At the height of stricter nationwide quarantine because of the pandemic, I made sure to reinforce the capacity of Baguio General Hospital for faster testing through the provision of additional RT-PCR and automated extractor machines in the absence of our own molecular laboratory. I know BGH caters the whole of Cordillera and to some extent, the Northern Luzon for Covid testing, hence, I purchased additional extractor machines that it can use when we retrieved our equipment for the soon to be opened BeGH molecular laboratory in Benguet.
When there were incidents of Covid-19 outbreak in Itogon recently, Mayor Magalong was more than willing to help us and provide isolation facilities for our residents.
I think all of these happened because Baguio City and Benguet treat each other like family, and we are. We are united in more than hundred ways we can ever imagine. During our past interactions and conversations, it is very apparent that you and I have mutual respect for each other and whenever one of us speaks, the other one listens like a big brother.
In line with this, I would like to appeal to you to recall the advisory that restricts travel from Benguet to Baguio. Allow me to point out though that I am in no way against stricter measures to contain the virus. We are on the same side and maybe it is best for us to discuss this further and come up with a win-win measure.
Before the congressman's statement, many were upset with the travel restrictions issued by Magalong.
Residents of Benguet strongly oppose this because according to them, it will be an additional calvary to get the requirements and documents especially for the workers and farmers who have to travel to Baguio City.