MAYOR Benjamin Magalong of Baguio City may not be aware of it, but he just recently showed the world that our local city mayors are better at handling virus attacks and public health emergencies than the Americans.
If the mayor of Baguio City knew what happened in Pennsylvania in 1918, then he sure puts a premium on learning from history.
Last week, Magalong made it sure that it won’t rain in his parade because there was none. He cancelled it. He knows that the flower festival parade gathers thousands of people, residents and tourists alike, as spectators. Thus, the risk of the 2019-novel Coronavirus being transmitted is huge.
On the advice of city health officers, Mayor Magalong scrapped the opening parade of the 25th Panagbenga Flower Festival, which is the opening salvo for the crowd-drawing Panagbenga. The flower festival is traditionally observed in the first three weeks of February when the temperature in Baguio is at its lowest.
Magalong said the health of residents and tourists must take precedence than a mere parade as the local government sets up measures to prevent infections related to the 2019-novel coronavirus which already reached Manila.
Baguio being one of the busiest tourist destinations in the country is a likely target for the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China.
Going back to history, Philadelphia at the turn of the century had this patriotic practice of welcoming with a big parade its heroes – Americans who have excelled in various fields.
Tradition was strong, and against the advice of doctors and health experts, officials of the city of Pennsylvania decided to hold the grand parade for impending victory of the Allied forces in World War 1.
Officials of Pennsylvania did not recognize the danger that the Spanish flu which had killed hundreds of thousands worldwide in all six continents and which had arrived in the United
States through the soldiers would be exacerbated by the throng of people at the parade.
The city suffered 12,000 American lives lost because of the onslaught of the Spanish flu – in just six weeks following the parade.
It behooves Mayor Magalong now to decide whether to cancel all the other activities of the Panagbenga week. But this early, he deserves our praise for being proactive and mature in grappling with the virus problem by canceling the parade.