By Zaldy Comanda
BAGUIO CITY – The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio (HRAB) and other local tourism industry stakeholders warned those advocating the total closure of this city that they will not support them in their future endeavors because their efforts will be ruining the robust growth of Baguio’s tourism industry.
Anthony de Leon, HRAB president and general manger of the Baguio Country club (BCC), said it will be the thousands of employees of the tourism establishments who will first suffer the brunt of the proposed closure of Baguio City being advocated by some politicians because they will eventually lose their jobs that will lead to loss of income.
“For those who continue to advocate for the closure of Baguio, we assure you that you will not get our support in your endeavors,” de Leon stressed.
De Leon said the city’s private sector continues to fulfill its obligations to comply with existing laws, rules and regulations for the preservation and protection of the environment.
That is why the group is raising the argument that should a total closure be imposed in Baguio City, the ones who have been most compliant with these requirements would stand to suffer most.
The HRAB official assured concerned government agencies and the local government that its members were strictly complying with the prescribed rules and regulations ensuring the preservation and protection of the city’s environment because development can co-exist with the efforts to sustain the state of the environment of the city.
Meanwhile, the Cordillera office of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB-CAR) clarified there was no official order from higher authorities to close Baguio City purposely to undergo rehabilitation.
EMB-CAR regional director Reynaldo S. Digamo said his office had been receiving numerous inquiries on the reported closure of Baguio City for rehabilitation, but he already informed Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu in one of their previous gatherings outside Metro Manila that the DENR regional office and its attached bureaus in the regional level can manage the situation in the city.
He also narrated that when Cimatu was asked lately regarding the pronouncement on the closure of Baguio City by no less than one of his undersecretaries, he, himself, was reportedly taken aback, and asked where the closure order came from.
“We believe the reported closure of Baguio City was a product of the attention it got in the social media even if the same were false information circulated by supposedly social media savvy individuals which slightly affected the city’s image in the national and international scenes,” Digamo stressed.