Baguio City keeps strict quarantine checkpoints despite MGCQ

Baguio City keeps strict quarantine checkpoints despite MGCQ

BAGUIO CITY – The Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) has reiterated to the public that the city continues to strictly implement cross-border checkpoints and impose online registration prior to entry to the city even if it has already shifted to the more relaxed modified general community quarantine (MCGQ).

In an advisory posted on a social media Saturday, city police director, Col. Allen Rae Co said “whoever enters the city regardless of who the person” is required to undergo initial triage at the checkpoints set up at the various entry points.

There are checkpoints at the Kennon View Deck, Marcos Highway, Naguilian Road, Magsaysay Road and Tiptop in Ambuklao for the Benguet-Vizcaya road.

“We stress that the same rule applies to all VIPs (very important persons) and PNP (Philippine National Police) members whether they are entering Baguio on their own or serving as an escort or security to somebody,” Co said.

The advisory said an online registration at hdf.baguio.gov.ph is also strictly imposed prior to the entry to the city for easy monitoring and contact tracing purposes.

Certain documents must be submitted online to allow the processing of their permits to enter Baguio.

The advisory added that people, often government employees and uniformed personnel who have other travel documents authorizing them to go to Baguio, are required to submit a medical certificate in the absence of the travel authority issued by the PNP indicating that the person is coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) free.

Co said the city exerts its best effort to contain the contagion through the rules it promulgated.

“We insist that these protocols be respected to be fair to the residents who painstakingly sacrifice to make the city Covid-free,” he added.

Co further said Baguio’s “ace” against Covid-19 is discipline, adding that “people take the rules to heart.”

“So please do as the Baguioans do: follow our rules even before you get to our place,” he said.

Meanwhile, the city government has boosted its triage and testing schemes as new Covid-19 cases emerged when the city’s status was downgraded to MGCQ.

In an interview, Mayor Benjamin Magalong said circumstances on the two new cases — a returning Baguio worker and a former Person Deprived of Liberty who recently was released from jail— underscored the need to tighten the X-ray requirement in the city’s central triage and the necessity to expand random testing.

The returning worker was found positive of the virus after her X-ray result showed suspicious pneumonia requiring a mandatory reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test which turned out positive.

As a result of the triage findings, the patient was immediately isolated, preventing disease transmission at once.

Amid the case of the returning Baguio worker, Magalong said chest X-rays will now become a requirement not only for returning workers but for all returning Baguio residents (RBR) as a precaution against the disease.

“We will now require X-rays among all our RBRs to ensure that no one with potential infection gets through the triage. We will deploy X-ray machines that will be good for a 24-hour operation for a minimal fee of PHP180 for the cost of the film,” he said.

Returning overseas Filipino workers are also subjected to triage.

“I hope people would understand that this is the way to go if we want to safeguard our city because we really do not know how many of our RBRs and workers are potentially infected,” he added.

Magalong said triage records on construction workers alone showed that out of the 1,048 workers who came up from May 7-27, there were 11.9 percent found to have pneumonia, tuberculosis and heart problems, all of which are comorbidities of Covid-19. Pamela Mariz Geminiano / PNA – northboundasia.com