The town of Kiangan in Ifugao has achieved an 80-percent vaccination rate against Covid-19, thanks to the vaccine and people’s adherence to protocols, the mayor said on Sunday, adding the town is opening its borders to tourists.
Mayor Raldis Andrei Bulayungan, in a message during the “Gotad Ad Kiangan”, a gathering for thanksgiving after the lockdown, said they have a target of less than 10,000, or 80 percent of the eligible population.
He said only this town, Lagawe, and Lamut, among the 11 Ifugao municipalities, have achieved herd immunity.
“The people’s obedience to the elders and following the example of officials who have received the Covid-19 vaccines contributed to the high vaccination rate in the town,” he said.
Bulayungan assured all programs of the local government and the Department of Health (DOH) are relayed to villages and made known to the residents, especially the benefits of vaccines.
Based on the DOH-Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) report on April 26, Ifugao’s vaccination rate is at 53.10 percent, having fully vaccinated 91,395 of 172,134 eligible residents.
The Department of Tourism-CAR likewise expressed confidence in the revival of the region’s tourism industry.
“All tourism-oriented establishments are now open,” said Jovita Ganongan, DOT-CAR director, in her speech at the event. “We continue to accredit tourism-related establishments as part of the government’s effort to assure the safety of the tourists visiting the different destinations.”
Local and foreign tourists frequent Sagada in Mountain Province, Banaue, Mount Pulag in Benguet, and Baguio City.
Among Kiangan’s famous sites are the War Memorial or the Yamashita Shrine where Japan’s Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita surrendered to American and Filipino soldiers in 1945 and Nagadacan Rice Terraces, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization heritage site.
Bulayungan said they plan to allow anew the entry of foreign tourists starting this month.
Ganongan said DOT will continue to provide trainings to upskill workers, help displaced workers acquire new skills, and provide stimulus packages with assistance from the Labor department.