Issue of December 1, 2019
     
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City government wants takeover of Maharlika building

The city council on Monday gave the green light, through Ordinance 109, s. 2019, the closure of portions of roads at the central business district this afternoon, Dec. 1, for the “11th Lantern Parade” of the Saint Louis University.

Saint Louis University President, Rev. Fr. Gilbert Sales, CICM, in his letter to the city council, said that the annual SLU lantern Parade is their school’s present to the community as part of the city’s annual Christmas celebration.

Road closure will start from 3 p.m. until the parade ends in specific areas to start at North Drive down to both lanes of Session Road up to the junction of Magsaysay Avenue, one lane of Harrison Road adjacent to the Melvin Jones Grandstand, and Jose Abad Santos Drive up to the Baguio Athletic Bowl where the parade will conclude.

Vehicular parking at the Athletic Bowl will also be closed as the spaces will be used by participants and large volume of public viewers like in the previous holdings of the event.

The Public Information Section in the City Mayor’s Office was tasked in the ordinance to conduct full dissemination drive regarding the activity, while the Baguio City Police Office-Traffic Enforcement Unit was asked of its appropriate traffic scheme to reduce the impact of vehicular traffic during the event.

City Mayor Benjamin Magalong was authorized through Resolution 459, s. 2019, in behalf of the city government of Baguio, to negotiate and enter into an agreement with the Human Settlements Development Corporation for the immediate turnover of the Maharlika Livelihood Complex to the city possibly by 2020.

The action is to give the HSDC and the city government of Baguio enough time to talk for the smooth turnover of the complex under terms and conditions that are acceptable and beneficial to both parties.

Standing today as the Maharlika Livelihood Complex was a result of a contract on April 28, 1972 between the city government and the M.G. Suntay Trading Company. The agreement was “for the construction, operation, and management of a multi-storey supermarket and complex shopping center” under built, operate and transfer scheme with initial lease-agreement for 25 years.

Barely one month after the agreement, M.G. Suntay Trading Company assigned its leasehold-rights over the said project in favor of Mar-Bay and Company, Inc., which on April 16, 1975 was granted by the city council an increased lease period to 50 years commencing on April 28, 1975.

On Aug. 14, 1980, Mar-Bay & Company, Inc. has transferred and assigned its leasehold-rights, inclusive of all improvements, in favor of the HSDC, which is the current operator of the complex supposedly until April 27, 2025 but due to some circumstances is contemplating to end the lease contract earlier.

In resolution 454, s. 2019, the body commended the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Inc. for its act of generosity in constructing and donating concrete classrooms with galvanized iron roofing to the City of Baguio.

The federation, represented by its president Henry Lim Bon Liong and the chairman of welfare committee Bonifacio Lui, through Peter Ng, have signed last Nov. 7 with Magalong the deed of donation of three classrooms for Lucban Elementary School and two for Dontogan Elementary School.

The resolution is grateful with the federation for its contributions which are enhancing the quality of education in the City of Baguio.

Aware with the African Swine Fever outbreak and its effect to the agriculture and impact to local economy, the body in Resolution 444, s. 2019 has requested Magalong to create, through an executive order, a task force which shall conduct information and dissemination drive, and to respond on ASF issues and on other high impact animal diseases with economic implications.

A highly contagious hemorrhagic viral disease of domestic and wild pigs, ASF has been blamed for serious economic and production losses in many parts of Luzon for several months now. Although it only affects members of the pig family and not transmittable to humans through contact with pigs or pork, it has a negative effect to the economy.

The resolution stated that in a data released by the Department of Agriculture, the existing total swine population is about 12.7 million heads and the cost to control ASF per animal is P5,000 or a total of P41 million for a 100 percent infection of livestock. It also issued a situation where Central Luzon accounts for the highest inventory of swine at 2.21 million heads and a loss due to ASF will amount to P1M for an infected 50,000 heads.

And since the city is one of the trading centers for pork consumption, there is a need for information dissemination, surveillance and monitoring to respond to issues raised on ASF, and to prevent its entry in the city.

In Resolution 458, s. 2019, the body suggested to Magalong to include “Happiness” as the 16th core agendum of the city government.

The suggestion was inspired by the king of Bhutan whose charitable act of distributing his wealth gives him inner happiness and likewise brought happiness to his subjects as beneficiaries.

It followed that the Kingdom of Bhutan has changed the measurement of its growth from Gross National Product to Gross National Happiness. This was adopted by the Kingdom of Great Britain and other countries/states in Europe and United States of America.

The importance of “Happiness” was also recognized in a 2011 Resolution of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution as a tool “towards a holistic approach to development.”

In the resolution, the member nations were urged to follow the example of Bhutan to mainstream the measurement of happiness and well-being in their development, and called/declared happiness a fundamental human goal. Valuing collective happiness as the goal of governance.

The resolution is hopeful that the adoption of happiness as a core agenda would reinforce various programs of the city towards making its citizens healthier, have positive outlook in life, and more productive. The program is seen also to improve the 71st rank of the Philippines among the 156 countries in the 2018 World Happiness with Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Switzerland as among the top happiest countries.

Through joint Resolution 452, s. 2019, the body sent the city government’s condolences to the bereaved family of the late councilor Leonora Bulong Guinid.

Guinid was born on April 19, 1938 in Kiangan, Ifugao and joined the Creator on Nov. 22 at the age of 81. She was appointed city councilor from May 1, 1986 to Dec. 1, 1987.

After her term as councilor, she continued to advocate for social change particularly in the development of the City Public Market representing the Hilltop Open Market Vendors Credit and Services Cooperative.

“The exemplary service which she has rendered is worthy of recognition and will remain a legacy to her family, friends, and the City of Baguio,” reads the resolution.

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