June 21, 2024

Members of the Baguio City Council, last Monday, scrutinized the master development plan of the proposed Social Welfare and Development Complex which will house four facilities managed by the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO).

The Social Welfare and Development Complex consists of the halfway home for rebel returnees, the Bahay Pag-asa (formerly the Social Development Center), the youth auditorium, and retirement home for the elderly.

Tabanda questioned the measurement of the spaces for the halfway home for the rebel returnees and the retirement home for the elderly. The development plan indicates that 297 square meters is dedicated for the halfway home for rebel returnees while only 130 m2 is for the retirement home for the elderly.

“It would be more practical and feasible if the retirement home for seniors is bigger than the halfway home for former rebels. After all, you still don’t know how many former rebels you will cater to, whereas you have an idea how many senior citizens will benefit from the retirement home,” Tabanda said. 

A feasibility study needs to be conducted to equitably determine the amount of spaces for each facility, she added.

P20 million has been earmarked for the construction of the halfway home for the rebel returnees. Of the amount, P15M has been appropriated by the city government from its annual budget while P5M has been provided by the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

The retirement home for the elderly, on the other hand, has a starting capital of P10M which has already been allocated by the city government from its 2022 annual budget.   

Nestor Mestito, CSWDO representative, said construction of the halfway home for rebel returnees is ongoing. He said the CSWDO will look into the possibility of re-assessing the measurements for each facility as indicated on the proposed development plan.

Mestito said the halfway home is a dormitory-type structure which will serve as a temporary shelter for former rebels in the city and other nearby localities as they prepare to be reintegrated into the community.

Councilor Michael Lawana requested the CSWDO to provide a more detailed architectural plan of the halfway home.

Councilors Levy Lloyd Orcales and Arthur Allad-iw suggested the possibility of using a portion of the halfway home as a temporary shelter for vagrants in the city as part of the city government’s rehabilitation program for the homeless.

Tabanda also questioned the inclusion of a youth auditorium into the proposed complex, stressing the presence of a sports complex cum youth convergence center at the Athletic Bowl and a Sangguniang Kabataan center in Irisan.

Mestito said the auditorium is already existing and has already been rehabilitated.

Councilor Mylen Yaranon requested the CSWDO to provide the city council a list of retirees, rebel returnees, and children in conflict with the law in the city in aid of legislation. 

The city council scheduled another forum on the matter with the City Planning and Development Office, the City Buildings and Architecture Office and the CSWDO on June 27. – Jordan G. Habbiling