March 31, 2023

The City Environment and Parks Management Office will not suspend the Roadside Smoke Emission Tests (RITMT) despite clamor to halt its implementation while Baguio is under general community quarantine.

Cepmo head Renan Diwas said his department will continue the RITMT to sustain the gains the city government has achieved when it registered good air quality in 2020.

Diwas said this is in line with the current administration’s program of making Baguio a walkable city.

A report made by the Cepmo covering a six-year period (2013 to 2019) showed that the general ambient air quality in Baguio was classified as “fair,” or a generally acceptable level of air quality, but those with asthma, allergies, and other respiratory diseases are not recommended to venture outdoors with this kind of air quality because of the presence of pollutants.

It was only in 2020 when Baguio was able to attain a “good” ambient air quality.

The Cepmo considers the 2020 data as a product of extraordinary circumstances brought about by restricted travels as ordered by national Inter-Agency Task Force due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said Cepmo’s goal is to maintain the 2020 ambient air quality even when more vehicles are allowed on the road.

Cepmo will also set up more pocket and vertical gardens to absorb particulate matter, especially at areas identified as critical for high levels of air pollution.

These areas are at City Hall-Baguio City Police Office; Bell Church and Happy Homes-Old Lucban, both at Magsaysay Avenue; Kennon Road, University of the Philippines Baguio campus, and at the Veteran’s Park along Harrison Road. – Rimaliza A. Opiña