June 21, 2024

■  Jane B. Cadalig 

The city council asked the concerned department of the city government to submit documents related to the development of the Ibaloy Heritage Garden, which was allotted P78 million through the effort of a senator.

The request came after members of the city council learned about the ongoing improvement works done by the Department of Public Works and Highways-Baguio City District Engineering Office (BCDEO) using a separate P2M budget on the stage of the two-story structure within the Ibaloy Garden.

Councilor Jose Molintas earlier asked the BCDEO to explain the ongoing work being done by the office when the stage was planned for demolition and reconstruction using the P78M from the office of Sen. Robinhood Padilla.

BCDEO Assistant District Engineer Glen Reyes told the council they are simply implementing the final phase of the project, which was allotted funds way back in 2018.

“We are just completing the project, which was requested by the Ibaloys,” Reyes said.

Molintas said there was a lack of information about the work done by the BCDEO on the Ibaloy Garden structure because no signs were posted and there seemed to be no coordination with the city government.

The BCDEO said the project was coordinated with former City Environment and Parks Management Office head Colleen Lacsamana.

Cepmo Head Rhenan Diwas also informed the council that the stage demolition will no longer push through after the Ibaloys whom they consulted informed them about the P2M allocation for the finishing works for the structure.

Instead of demolishing the stage, Diwas said they decided to incorporate the existing stage into the design to be built using the P78M to avoid overlap of projects and waste of funds.

He said the stage will be extended and transformed into a museum.

The council asked Cepmo to submit the plan for the development of the Ibaloy Park, including the plan for the P78M, and the BCDEO to submit the plan of the existing structure.

Councilor Mylen Yaranon said they needed to see the plan for the project funded by the P78M, especially since bidding was declared a failure and the allocation would only be good until December.

Diwas said there was a failure of bidding for the project funded by the P78M because all the bidders failed to comply with certain requirements.

He clarified the P78M is not only for the development of the Ibaloy Garden but also for the development of the Igorot Park, particularly the modification of the statue and the rehabilitation of the dilapidated chess tables and benches in the area.

Yaranon asked Cepmo to submit the costs and the plan of the project funded by the P78M that was bid out, noting not one of the bidders qualified.

Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan also asked Cepmo to again subject the project for bidding, saying it would be a waste of opportunity if the fund is reverted to the national coffers.

“If there’s a failure of bidding, it should be rebid right away. You should see to it that the project is finished on time so we won’t again return the funds to the national government,” he said.

He also asked the DPWH to collaborate with and not treat the city government as an adversary in the implementation of projects.