IN light of the holiday season and the intense expected traffic situation as tourists come to Baguio and Benguet, the Baguio City Peace and Order Council (CPOC) and the BLISTT Development Authority (BLISTTDA), both chaired by Mayor Benjamin Magalong, passed a resolution requesting the Kennon Road Task Force and the Department of Public Works and Highways Cordillera (DPWH-CAR) to open Kennon immediately.
At the start of December, mayors of Baguio and the nearby Benguet towns of La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay asked the DPWH to open Kennon again.
Magalong asked the task force and the DPWH-CAR, who supervise the maintenance and the repair of the national road, to fast-track the addressing of safety concerns, repair and rehabilitation efforts, and clear all illegally parked vehicles on the road.
Proper conduct of rehabilitation and repair efforts has been a continuous concern for Magalong, who has sought multiple inquiries into DPWH projects in the city in the past years, including bridges and a project at the Lion’s Head along Kennon Road, the former of which has been subject of a complaint from the city against the head of the Baguio City District Engineering Office-Department of Public Works and Highways (BCDEO-DPWH) with the Office of the Ombudsman.
The Joint Inter-Agency Task Force (JIATF) Kennon, chaired by Albert Mogol, regional director of the Office of Civil Defense Cordillera, meanwhile said that they have conducted more inspections of the road, which is currently undergoing repairs and is closed to all non-resident traffic. Further deliberation on its road-worthiness is being undertaken.
As a result of the closure of Kennon Road, alternate routes to Baguio City and the Province of Benguet have been experiencing heavy traffic at the inconvenience of residents and tourists alike.
“Traffic in the alternate routes is only expected to worsen in December, when travel and tourist arrivals are at its peak,” the MBLISSTDA resolution stated.
Police Lt. Col. Zacarias Dausen, chief of the traffic enforcement unit of the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO), said that the city has implemented alternative traffic schemes to reroute tourists headed for destinations out of Baguio City into roads that would not add to the congestion in the clogged city, which saw at least 743,000 vehicles enter during last year’s Christmas season, but said that rerouting schemes will not be enough if Kennon does not reopen.