June 20, 2024

Baguio officials are working out another deal with the Department of Agriculture for the agency to set aside two more hectares in addition to the eight hectares within the Baguio Animal Breeding and Research Center that was earlier apportioned for use by the city for 50 years.
In January 2019, then Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and mayor Mauricio Domogan signed a usufruct agreement which allowed the city government to use 80,143 square meters of the BABRC for the city’s various land needs.
At the time, a portion was being used as waste transfer station while unused portions have been identified as site for a south-bound terminal, impounding area for colorum vehicles, fire station, government offices, and other land needs that the City Planning and Development Office will identify in the future.
In the deed of usufruct, the land remains to be owned by the government under the administration of DA.
Obligations of the city government are to protect other areas of the BABRC from informal settlers through demolition and removal of unauthorized structures and buildings and shall not sell, dispose, mortgage, encumber, transfer, assign, and tolerate use by a third party, or use as collateral for the LGU’s economic venture the land or any portions during the duration of the agreement.
The city government will also allow the DA’s Human Settlements Development Corporation or any of its authorized representatives to segregate a portion of the land as its access to the upper portion of the lot along the Palispis-Aspiras Highway.
In the city council’s Aug. 16 session, Planning and Development Officer Donna Tabangin said the city government will develop the area as the south-west growth corridor of Baguio.
An intermodal bus terminal, the Atab District Health Center, a central fire station, and a modern city abattoir are the planned developments at the site. Since a buffer zone is needed to delineate the buildings and the areas occupied, two more hectares is needed as the present waste transfer station will be relocated.
Tabangin said DA-Cordillera officials are open to the idea during her recent meeting with them, but the decision will be with its central office.
She added the proposed relocation site within a precarious area because of its terrain but this can be remedied through engineering interventions.
The city council said it will not approve the master development plan because of the issues that the CPDO need to address, such as absence of feasibility study that would validate that the proposed development is suitable for the area; feasibility, cost, and environmental impact of relocating the transfer station; geographic hazards; population density, traffic study, social acceptability of development plan especially in the surrounding communities of Baguio and Tuba; and ancestral land claims.
Instead of a master plan, the council considered the proposal as a concept plan that will have to be revised depending on the outcome of assessments and research that the CPDO will undertake.
The CPDO was also tasked to review the deed of usufruct as it appeared that the technical description of the area has not been confirmed by the city council yet.
The city government is pursuing the development of the six growth corridors in Baguio to decongest the central business district.
For the south-west growth corridor, the city government has received an unsolicited proposal through public-private partnership for the development of four hectares, for an intermodal bus terminal. – Rimaliza A. Opiña