By Zaldy Comanda
BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan dismissed as a hoax some reports circulating in social media that this city will be closed to tourists this month, supposedly upon orders of President Duterte.
“Fake news,” he said of the report, stressing that the city has not received any order or directive from the President relative to the closure.
He said it is true that the city has many concerns but these can be addressed without resorting to a months-long shutdown similar to what was done to Boracay Island.
Boracay is different in such a way that the violations were rampant and that the place has only one access point while Baguio is a mountain resort and the gateway to the Cordillera region, the mayor said.
City Information Officer Aileen Refurzo said some hotel owners expressed concern that the fake news making the rounds on social media may affect their businesses, even as some hotel clients have already cancelled their reservations.
She said Korean groups in the city also aired the same concern.
City Tourism Operations Officer Aloysius Mapalo pointed out that a tourism shutdown is far-fetched since the city has even mounted the 1st Creative Festival.
He urged the public to be more discerning with what they come across on social media.
“Know what’s fake!” he said.
On November 5, Tourism Undersecretary Marco Bautista was in the city and announced that they will undertake a rigid evaluation and assessment of resort destinations in Northern Luzon including Baguio City, Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, and the heritage destinations of Banaue, Ifugao and Vigan City in Ilocos Sur.
He said that the aim is to determine whether the extent of damages inflicted by the robust tourism industry in the said places will warrant possible closure and rehabilitation like what was done to Boracay.