BAGUIO Mayor Benjamin Magalong is calling for a stricter quarantine status for the city, citing the growing number of COVID-19 cases, including Delta variant cases in the locality.
According to Magalong, a stricter quarantine classification and its heightened restrictions will be instrumental in facilitating more stringent measures to control the spread of COVID-19 in the city.
While the city has already tightened many of its restrictions, Magalong said that they cannot fully implement proper control measures without a formal declaration of a heightened quarantine classification.
He added that he has contacted the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Cordillera Regional Director Araceli San Jose, requesting for a formal declaration of heightened quarantine classification.
“I called up our regional director of the DILG, RD Araceli, asking her to allow us to have a declaration under the IATF of a heightened GCQ (general community quarantine), or GCQ with heightened restrictions. So at least we can further enforce and implement our measures, like reduction to 20 percent capacity in events, and other restrictions we need to implement,” he said.
Magalong raised the issue after the city was found to average some 890 cases per week in the past month, as well as the presence of the more infectious Delta COVID-19 variant in the city.
“As I keep on repeating, the worst is yet to come with regards to the Delta variant. So the best thing apart from the observance of the minimum public health standards, is for us to adopt more restrictions,” he said.
The mayor had spearheaded early preparations for the Delta variant as early as July to delay the spread of the more severe and infectious variant which he believed will have a greater and longer impact than what the city experienced last March and April, believed to be driven only by the Alpha and Beta variants.
Meanwhile, BCPO City Director Police Col. Glen Lonogan stated that there had been a significant reduction in the volume of motorists traveling to the city even on weekends when more visitors are expected, and he expressed gratitude for the cooperation of the public in observing the strict enforcement of border control measures.
He added that police personnel managing the different QTPs in strategic entry points of the city have been turning back some 50 to 70 travelers daily because they were neither coming for non-essential purposes nor had the required travel documents.
Last month, 14 travelers who possessed fake travel documents in trying to enter the city were apprehended by the police, while nearly 500 travelers were ordered to return to their points of origin for failure to prove that they were on essential travel or because they did not have the required travel documents.
Further, four motor vehicles that tried to smuggle individuals into the city without proper documents were impounded by the police.
Lonogan also warned that charges will be filed against those trying to enter the city with fake documents – with reports from Dexter See and Aileen P. Refuerzo