Mayors of Baguio, Benguet end row on border control | Inquirer News

Mayors of Baguio, Benguet end row on border control

/ 05:02 AM November 27, 2020

BAGUIO CITY—The implementation of border restrictions on Benguet residents entering this city went smoothly on Thursday, after the mayors of Baguio and five Benguet towns settled their differences.

The border control was enforced from Nov. 26 to Dec. 4 in the towns of La Trinidad, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay, while Benguet officials set up more isolation facilities and expanded tests to contain an outbreak of the coronavirus, particularly in mining communities in the province.

Workers, traders and residents sent to buy goods here were allowed entry after displaying their identification cards and medical clearances at border checkpoints.


Many workers in Baguio come from neighboring towns, but the lack of data on their number has prompted city officials to seek Benguet’s help in identifying, tagging and monitoring cross-border activities.


But Baguio’s decision triggered a social media feud last week among residents and government employees about its necessity, with some accusing Mayor Benjamin Magalong of being against the Igorot.

“Throughout my life and my career [as a police officer), I have never been against Cordillerans,” said the Baguio-born Magalong.

On Thursday, he met with Mayors Armando Lauro of Tublay, Clarita Sal-ongan of Tuba, Romeo Salda of La Trinidad, Manuel Munar Jr. of Sablan and Victorio Palangdan of Itogon behind closed doors to thresh out differences on the border restrictions.

Baguio and the five towns are part of an economic collaboration called BLISTT (Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay).

Itogon residents were subjected to the same border rules earlier this month due to an outbreak of coronavirus there, but these regulations were lifted on Nov. 23.

SCRUTINY The lockdown imposed in Luzon early this year led to checks on every vehicle entering Baguio City. The restrictions have been eased, with residents from nearby Benguet towns given easy access to Baguio until an increase in COVID-19 cases required restrictions to be reimposed in the city for nine days. —VINCENT CABREZA

COVID-19 concentration

On Thursday, the Cordillera disaster risk reduction and management council (CDRRMC) examined the health situation of BLISTT after the Department of Health pointed out that 80 percent of cases recorded in the region were concentrated there.


Albert Mogol, council chair, was asked earlier by the mayors to oversee the virus containment process of Benguet while Baguio’s border measures were in effect.

The DOH said BLISTT and the rest of the Cordillera were still considered “low-risk,” based on the attack rate and the two-week growth rate that had been computed by analysts.

As of Nov. 22, the number of cases in Cordillera had totaled 5,381, with 410 classified as active. The regional disaster response management body said 86 percent (4,602 cases) were recorded in BLISTT while 80 percent of active cases (327) were undergoing treatment in hospitals.

The towns experienced surges in cases in October and November when occupants of mining bunkers and residents in outlying communities in Tuba, Mankayan and Itogon were stricken with the virus.

Baguio has registered the most cases with 2,913 since March, but the DOH said this was tied to aggressive testing that allowed the early detection and isolation of virus carriers.

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The city had tested more than 64,000 of its residents, and quarantined and had treated 2,913 who were found positive for the disease as of Nov. 22. —VINCENT CABREZA

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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TAGS: Baguio, Benguet, Coronavirus, La Trinidad, pandemic, Sablan, Tuba, Tublay

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