December 4, 2022

The 15-point agenda where the current leadership of Baguio anchors its decisions and actions have paved the way for the city to become a safe and smart city prepared for the new and better normal.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong made this report on Sept. 1, as he gave an update on the state of the city during its 112th Charter Day anniversary.
“Our 15-point agenda had always set the course of our directions and actions. It is our contract with all of you, that we will continue to fulfill our obligation to you, to lead you to a desired quality of urban life in Baguio, and that you agree that we cooperate with each other and that as an entire community, we will move forward as one.”
Among the accomplishments in speeding up government action is the establishment of the P200-million command center set to be launched on Sept. 10 and the current active search for partners to realize the goal of becoming a Smart City.
The Baguio in my Pocket app is expanding its coverage and digital services. The city is in talks with a foreign company to plan the smart mobility transformation. There is also the P840-M grant from the Department of Information and Communication Technology to develop the national data center and an ICT academy in the city.
Magalong reported building permit applications are now fully online through the Build Pass System; civil registry records are already being digitized to speed up service requests; the local government has been subjected to auditing through the Performance Governance System; and planning the P45 M community-based monitoring system to acquire technology-based disaggregated data for planning, implementation, and impact monitoring of programs and projects.
In revitalizing the environment, the city has allotted P100M for the construction of a modern abattoir in Dontogan barangay. Talks are ongoing for a waste-to-energy project; master planning of central business district and growth nodes; parks rehabilitation; a P3-billion water and sanitation improvement and rehabilitation; and construction of a rainwater harvesting facility.
The Baguio Green Walks Initiative was also launched on Sept. 1 for the public to see the future of the physical environment around the city, and soon the P100-M sidewalk recovery and improvement program.
Crimes in the city have decreased by 43.3 percent, while the Baguio City Police Office continues to improve its digital crime mapping system to provide real time response to situations and has been assisting throughout the pandemic making sure there is peace and order and the public is safe.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board-CAR recently approved the city’s local public transport route plan and is up for implementation.
Modernization of public transportation in the city has started and rationalizing the transportation network is being done. An intermodal transport terminal is being considered. There are proposals for a monorail project and multilevel parking structures at strategic areas in the city.
The P130 M tennis court and parking structure at the Athletic Bowl will soon be bid out.
Magalong said they are finding ways to modernize the Baguio City Public Library and build a better building conducive to reading and learning; as well as ways to make WiFi available not only in schools but in all barangays as well.
The P320 M Youth Convergence Center and Sports Complex at the Athletic Bowl is already bid out and the city council recently approved the Baguio Comprehensive Sports Development Code.
The city has also sustained its financial educational assistance to 842 college students and the youth development council plan of action is being actively implemented.
Health and social services were expanded by providing mobile and targeted vaccination; mega vaccination sites are being added with the help of the private sector, and the Baguio City One Hospital Command Center is now operational.
Displaced tourism workers, centenarians, and nonagenarians were provided assistance and life skills sessions and financial assistance are continuously extended to persons with disability.
The city will soon start the site development plan and construction of the P205 M Luna terraces housing project in Irisan, the first socialized housing project of the city made possible through government grants.
The mayor said responsible tourism will remain the city’s vision as can be gleaned from the Tourism Recovery and Resiliency Plan developed during the pandemic and for this a tourism carrying capacity study is being undertaken to guide future decisions and actions on tourism.
The Visita app continues to be the platform for the safe, sure, and sustained economic reopening of the city.
He acknowledged the assistance and encouragement of Tourism Sec. Bernadette Puyat, the Tourism Promotions Board, and Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority and for allotting P18.79M for city tourism projects.
The city is also making sure culture, arts, crafts, and heritage are enlivened, with the creation of the Creative Baguio City Council. It also looks forward to an invigorated dynamic partnership with the arts and cultural communities as it prepares to submit a status report to the United Nations on the city’s membership to the UN Network of Creative Cities.
The city is eyeing to complete the negotiations with the proponent for the public market modernization, while it is coordinating with concerned agencies to make effective the city’s disaster management efforts.
It has not also wavered in supporting barangay officials, and has strengthened livelihood and entrepreneurial services by transforming Session Road as a regular venue to showcase products and crafts, among other ways.
The Public Employment Services Office has recorded a 99.71 percent job placement rate helping reduce unemployment, while the city continues to make arrangements with concerned agencies to solve issues on land ownership and urban development. – Hanna C. Lacsamana