Bais City sees minimal impact of COVID-19 in local economy

DUMAGUETE CITY, May 19 (PIA) -- The COVID-19 pandemic has brought minimal impact to the local economy in Bais City.

This was disclosed today by Bais City Mayor Mercedes Goñi in an interview with the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) during the Network Briefing News hosted by PCOO Asec. JV Arcena. 

Goñi said the ongoing pandemic did not have a big impact on their local economy as some businesses were connected to the government and small enterprises remained open despite the current conditions posed by COVID-19.

Bais City is one of the component cities in Negros Oriental and thrives on agriculture and tourism as major economic drivers.

Although Goñi admitted that the COVID-19 crisis has greatly affected the tourism and hospitality industry as most hotels and restaurants were closed and the dolphin watching activities were suspended at the height of the pandemic, its agriculture sector was not badly hit. 

“Most of our constituents, if they are not sugar planters, they are dependent on sugarcane. Thankfully they were not affected by COVID-19 because their workers are within their properties and they have been taken cared of. It has not been affected,” Goñi said, referring to owners of vast sugarfields in her city.

The city government also prioritized giving assistance to upland farmers to enhance their income.

“We have been assisting most of the farmers in the mountains (by helping them) bring their produce down to the Bais market. We have also expanded our market to be able to accommodate all their produce,” she explained.

On the other hand, small hotels in Bais City have inked a memorandum of agreement with the Local Government Unit (LGU) for the use of their facilities as isolation centers.

This way, the city government assured that they still have income despite the pandemic, the mayor said.

Goñi added that restaurant owners in Bais City were also happy that they were allowed to open again with 50 percent capacity as per the mandate of the Inter-Agency Task Force.

For now, the city government has implemented measures to strengthen the tourism industry in their area.

Part of this is the reopening of dolphin watching activities exclusive to residents of Negros Oriental.

“We have reopened it to only local Negrenses and it is still going on. Once the COVID is already out, we can open it again. Dolphin watching will be the first thing we will reactivate with all the health protocols that we will still put in place,” she said.

Aside from this, Goñi also considers opening their waterfall site in Cambagahan and mangrove parks to the public to revive local tourism activity in Bais City.

The mayor is also suggesting to the hacienderos in Bais City to open their houses for tourists who would like to know more about the culture and heritage in their locality.

There are also other proposals lined up to boost tourism in Bais City, like creating an avenue for local artists to showcase their work, setting up antique shops, and putting up garden shows for bonsai growers there.

“There are so many old things in Bais that we would like to share,” Goñi stressed.

Meanwhile, as of May 18, 2021, Bais City’s COVID-19 cases are at 137 with 87 recoveries, 48 active cases, and three deaths.

The local chief executive emphasized that the city government was able to carefully contain its COVID-19 situation with the efforts of the members of its Incident Command System. (ral/PIA7-Negros Oriental)



Source: Philippines Information Agency (pia.gov.ph)

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