July 25, 2024

We join everyone in celebrating and marking the anniversary of the Baguio City Charter although many are asking if we count from the day Republic Act 11689 or the Revised Baguio City Charter lapsed into law on April 11, 2022, or 114 years ago when Act 1963 was signed in 1909.
Anyway, as described by the late Benny Carantes as the “second” congressman, I spoke at the Baguio Convention Center during the 84th charter day celebration and I share excerpts from my message which remain true to this day:
The City of Baguio has remained as beautiful as it was then despite the urban decay, congestion, and so many difficulties development has. In some areas though, we could still smell the fresh scent of pine needles, the bloom of wild mountain blossoms, Baguio people remain nice, the kind, industrious, self-respecting dwellers, who remain filled with idealism and exuberance, having hopes to which we all look forward to. This city has become a haven of young hearts and minds, a bastion of ideas and fruitful perfection.
Because of its natural attractions, it has become, through all the years unique, not only because of its cool weather, but also because of its social climate, the communal temperament, the general atmosphere.
In one sweep of a magic wand, Baguio City became the country’s Summer Capital, the educational center of the north, an export processing and industrialized zone, a sports-training facility and a center for culture and arts.
Suddenly, the sleepy town we knew has grown into a metropolis abuzz with the convenience of high technology, computers, and machines, all in the name of progress.
Since we all have a stake, let us all work hand-in-hand to preserve what we have so far achieved. All of us from all walks of life, vocation, profession or persuasion must unite, have a common dream – a common hope – a shared vision for the Baguio we really want.
In the past, we have faltered because we have lived under the illusion that deliverance will come with the arrival of great and charismatic leaders who will solve our problems and be-all-things to us.
But this early, the messiah hasn’t come and he may never will. Thus, the answer to our longings and prayers lie in ourselves, not to anyone. This is what the great hero Apolinario Mabini meant when he spoke of “the revolution within that would nurture the new Filipino”.
This is the true meaning of empowerment of ordinary people. Not just the spectacle of people marching on the streets, waving banners and chanting slogans, but people power of the sovereign kind.
The kind which makes people take up their civic duties – accepting that for every right we cherish, we have a responsibility to do; that for every hope we entertain we have a task to perform and that for every good we wish to create or to preserve, we must work to obtain. The Baguio we dream of and want should be a result of our ceaseless striving to become the city we aspire for.
Time is of the essence the time is now to start a new vision, strength, and unity to make Baguio a better place to live in, a place in the minds and hearts of its people. This is the best legacy we can leave to our children.
To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, “Think not what Baguio can do for you but rather think of what you can do for Baguio,” with malice towards none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the city’s wounds, to care for her, to do all which many achieve, and cherish the just and lasting dream among ourselves.
Sigh.