BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Tourism destination areas in barangays Patag and Guimbalaon in Silay City, Negros Occidental, are now open to the public, with strict observance of mandated health protocols, City Administrator Jose Edward Davila yesterday said.
But business establishments, including resorts, cafés, and lodging houses, among others, in these areas remain closed, pending approval from the Northern Negros Natural Park Protected Area Management Board of their applications for Special Use Agreement to operate, Davila said.
In past months, the city government of Silay issued cease-and-desist orders against 36 business establishments in the protected area, for operating without business permits, among other violations.
Davila said many of the closed business establishments have already applied for special permits from the PAMB, for them to resume operations in the protected area.
Once there is approval from PAMB, business establishment owners will also have to comply with the requirements of the Silay City government, before they can operate, he added.
To monitor closely the entry of tourists, checkpoints have been maintained in Guimbalaon and Patag, and manned by their respective barangay officials and tanods.
Davila said Guimbalaon and Patag barangays remain Covid-free, as of this time. But they are now lowering their vigilance against the spread of the virus, he stressed, adding that all visitors are required to strictly observe health protocols, such as wearing of face masks and observing physical distancing.
He also said that the Joint Inspection Team of the Silay City government is constantly visiting the mountainous tourism destination areas to ensure that business establishments comply with the CDOs issued to them. Business establishment owners are being required by the city government to submit their respective development and management plans that include the structural design, drainage plan and other similar plans and designs, as well as location map.*