April 16, 2024

To be able to fully transform its smart city vision into reality, the city government needs to pull in a total of P5 billion, according to Executive Assistant Philip Puzon. 
In a forum with the city council last Jan. 9, Puzon said Mayor Benjamin Magalong is planning to solicit financial support from the national government and other external sources to satisfy the funding requirements for the full operation of the Smart City Command Center.
According to Puzon, Baguio City aims to be fully compliant with the criteria for the Smart City identification by 2027.
A smart city command center is a data-driven innovation built to help the local government in managing and sustaining its economy, environment, mobility/traffic, and public safety and security. 
The city’s newly built command center is temporarily housed in the basement of the Baguio Convention and Cultural Center (BCCC). It is currently manned round-the-clock by 15 City Hall personnel.
Puzon said the city government is eyeing the proposed Department of Information and Communications Technology Digital Transformation Center as the permanent location of the Smart City Command Center. 
The city government is currently in the infant stage of implementing its Smart City program through a P200 million grant from the Office of the President of the Philippines during the term of former President Rodrigo Duterte. The grant covered the procurement of equipment, software, hardware, and servers of the command center.
The command center’s highlighted feature is the 911 Baguio Operations, which “went live” on Oct. 12, 2021. As of Jan. 7, 2023, it had received 990 legitimate calls. The top five types of reports based on the number of legitimate calls were ambulance assistance (425), police assistance (168), vehicular accident (66), nuisance/noise pollution (57), and public disturbance (21).
Puzon said through the city government’s continuous efforts to warn and inform the public, the number of prank calls received by the 911 Baguio Operations had been significantly reduced. It peaked in March 2022 at 2,713 then gradually went down at 308 in December 2022.
The command center also contributes in solving cases relating to public order and safety through its video playback and extraction services. Forty closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras were initially purchased and were installed in major intersections in the city.
Puzon said the more or less 100 old CCTV cameras owned by the city government will be integrated into the command center’s video playback and extraction services.
As the need arises, CCTV footage may serve as evidence to resolve incidents. As of Dec. 31, 2022, there were 632 CCTV video playback requests and 88 CCTV video extraction requests.
With the integration of Project Minerva in collaboration with the University of the Philippines, the command center is able to gather data on which roads are being over-utilized within a certain period of time. These data could be used for traffic mitigation. 
Through Project Minerva, the command center is also able to gather data on the air quality in certain areas using static and mobile air quality sensors. These sensors are strategically placed in the most crowded tourist places in the city. These data will be used for the city’s pollution mitigation efforts.
Project Minerva has received an P18-M grant from the Department of Science and Technology.
Another feature fused in the command center is the flood early warning system which has received $660,000 grant from the ASEAN Australia Smart Cities Trust Fund.
This system monitors the water level in Ferguson Bridge; Central Guisad; Sadjap Bridge at Km. 3, Balili, La Trinidad, Benguet; Brookspoint; Eagle Crest Bridge at Bakakeng Central; and Camp 7).
The command center also functions as an emergency operations center to complement the emergency operations of the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office.
Puzon claimed Baguio City is the “first mover” in the country for the implementation of smart city technology.
“The implementation will further enhance Baguio City and the lives of its populace,” Puzon said. – Jordan G. Habbiling