April 16, 2024

The city government and the Department of Health-Cordillera began identifying strategies for the creation, usage, maintenance, and promotion of “healthy public open spaces” in the city.

Public open spaces refer to parks and other land spaces owned by the national or local government units intended for physical activity, leisure, and recreation as well as privately owned land spaces such as campuses, community gardens, and institutional or corporate grounds or “green” spaces and areas where there are natural or man-made surface water or “blue” spaces.

This is in line with the DOH-CAR’s program contained in the health promotion playbook on open green spaces focusing on the promotion of individual and community health and well-being by advocating for physical and social environments for health as part of the Universal Health Care program.

For the city government, this would operationalize Ordinance 93-2023 or the “Healthy Public Open Spaces Initiative Ordinance of the City of Baguio” for the promotion, creation, use and maintenance of healthy open spaces in communities and other health and environment initiatives in the city.

Based on the initial discussions, the city is eyeing Aguinaldo Park as a pilot area for the project. 

City Environment and Park Management Officer Rhenan Diwas said the park is ideally located and has a unique topography being classified as a stormwater park. 

City Planning, Development and Sustainability Office Coordinator Donna Tabangin whose office is tasked under the ordinance to identify existing and new spaces that may be used for the project and spearhead the creation of the development plan for the public open spaces said there will be six barangays that will directly benefit from Aguinaldo Park which has a total land area of 21.59 hectares.

The playbook and framework for the development of Aguinaldo Park healthy open space will serve as a blueprint that may be adopted or expanded for other green areas in the city in consultation with the stakeholders, according to the city executives.

Planning will continue in the coming days to complete the framework starting with the drafting of a master development plan for the pilot public space.

Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda, who chairs the city council committee on health and who authored the ordinance, said the plan should encompass other related programs of the city including the adopt-a-park and edible landscape.

Diwas agreed and said the program is also in conjunction with the city’s park rejuvenation program and the establishment of community parks within open green spaces like the Botanical Garden and the ongoing Bayan Park project. – Aileen P. Refuerzo