City not yet allowing Baguio residents to return

May 6, 2020 - The city’s program for returning Baguio residents (RBR) is being put on hold while preparations and health protocols are still being finalized.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong said that protocols for RBR needs to be finetuned so that our city’s health and safety facilities do not get overwhelmed. He asks for understanding as this is being done to ensure that the City is safe for when residents are finally allowed to come home.

“As of now, we are not ready for the influx of RBRs because we do not have enough triage, quarantine, and health facilities. We do not want a second wave of cases to happen in our city so we have to be careful about this," the mayor said.

At present, the city’s triage and facilities cannot accommodate the almost 50,000 residents wanting to return, however, a Technical Working Group, headed by Engr. Philip Puzon, has already drawn up the guidelines for a systematic process for our returning residents.

The Mayor said that the guidelines should ensure a manageable re-entry process for RBR so that all those coming into the city can undergo triage, and possible quarantine or hospitalization, without overwhelming our health facilities. The system will utilize online registration, LGU to LGU coordination, and a strict observance of health and safety standards. Health Declaration Forms, accessible online at http://hdf.baguio.gov.ph/welcome, will also be required.

The proposed RBR guidelines were presented to the City’s Management Committee on May 5, 2020, to show the processes and possible problem areas that might arise during its implementation. Based on the proposal, the need for adequate triage, health facilities, and sufficient test kits are crucial for its efficient execution. The proposal is still being finalized as of this announcement.

Until these guidelines are ready, the city’s policy of only allowing APORs and those with essential travel in to the city remains.

The Mayor is looking at the third week of May as the possible effectivity of the guidelines assuming that Baguio will be on General Community Quarantine status on May 16.

Engr. Puzon said that the guidelines will be also be applicable to non-residents who have been stranded in the city, and who intent to go home through coordination with their respective local government units.

According to Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Baguio Federation President, Councilor Levy Lloyd Orcales, there are still around 2,000 students from other provinces/cities who are staying in various dormitories and boarding houses in the city. - PIO-CMO