May 23, 2024

Baguio City is not letting go of its aspiration to become the county’s first smart and sustainable city.

Reelected Mayor Benjamin Magalong said his administration will continue looking for ways to enhance the Smart City command center, which became operational last year.

In his inaugural address on June 30, Magalong said the city continues to partner with government agencies and the private sector in its effort to expand Baguio’s Smart City capabilities.

Among other partnerships, he cited the city’s collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology, University of the Philippines Baguio, and Asian Institute of Management for an P18 million research and development undertaking called Project Minerva.

The project that stands for Monitoring of Indicators for Efficient Redevelopment and Value Assessment aims to create a data hub showing trends and indicators on four areas of concern – air pollution, water supply and quality, urban mobility, and tourism – and help the government address these.

Aside from Project Minerva, Magalong added the proposed Digital Transformation Center in Pacdal worth P892M also complements Baguio’s efforts of becoming a Smart City.

The center, a tie-up with the Department of Information and Communications Technology, provides a venue for ICT skills and literacy trainings.

Baguio’s P200M Smart City command center aims to provide quick response to critical incidents and on-site disasters and traffic situations and is used in gathering essential data related to environment.

Magalong said the command center’s artificial intelligence features will also help enhance governance, improve health and social services, manage and monitor all our critical assets and resources and protect our environment. 

The establishment of the command center is among the projects implemented under the 16-core agenda outlined by Magalong when he assumed office in 2019.

Other projects that were implemented, ongoing, or planned in pursuit of Magalong’s development agenda include the allocation of P131M for isolation facilities and super health centers in barangays Aurora Hill Proper, Atab, and Sto. Nino and P378M for multipurpose halls for  various barangays; P98M for satellite markets of five barangays; and P538M for the Youth Convergence and Indoor Sports Complex, Athletic Bowl quarters, and tennis court renovation.

The city also allotted P105M for land development and the construction of the first two buildings of the socialized housing in Irisan and additional P320M to complete the other eight buildings aside from P120M budgeted for the procurement of more lands for future investment opportunities.

The city also allotted P60M for the improvement of city roads, streets, sidewalks, and waiting sheds; P246M for improvement of city parks and was granted P10M for the construction of greenhouses at Busol and Botanical Garden.

“We are looking for ways to acquire the P400M to start the Burnham Park redevelopment as well as the P355M for the rehabilitation of Mines View Park. Visitor Information Centers worth P8M and wayfinders are also projects that are being implemented,” Magalong said.

Under the Public Private Partnership modality are the P3-billion city public market development and P1.5B inter-modal transport terminal at Dontogan.

“We are progressing on the approval of our prospective sewerage rehabilitation project with an amount of P3B.”

Another project for PPP is the P230M triple-A abattoir and cold storage also in Dontogan. 

Magalong said the city will continue to spearhead projects for urban agriculture and edible landscapes.

“In pursuit of these projects and programs, we need to exercise prudence, and assert once again that city leaders should be fair and responsible, with high standards for ethics and integrity, with a recognition of full transparency and accountability,” he said. – Jane B. Cadalig