July 23, 2024

Baguio City’s development must be done for the contentment not only of the tourists, but more importantly its residents.
Baguio Rep. Marquez Go emphasized this during the meeting called on Jan. 10 at The Mansion to update national government agencies and other stakeholders on the issues and areas of the city that need rehabilitation.
Go lauded the city government for the efforts done to improve the state of Baguio’s environment, traffic, and tourist spots, among other aspects, but he said this must be done not only for the benefit of the tourists, but also for the residents.
“We are on the right track in addressing the major concerns of the city, but I want that the development should not only be biased in favor of the tourists. This should be also for the locals. We do not like the tourists to be happy, while the locals are complaining, which we are (witnessing) today,” Go said.
“‘Yung iba, ayaw nang makakita ng turista kasi dumadami ang basura at lumalaki ang problema sa (kakulangan sa) tubig and the problem on traffic,” he said.
Go added the developments to be pursued are people-centered. “We should also focus on the development of our people to improve their quality of life. When we bring tourists, it should add value to our people in terms of income,” he said.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong briefed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, represented by Asec. for Administration Jesus Enrico Moises Salazar, Department of Tourism Sec. Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Department of the Interior and Local Government Sec. Eduardo Año, and other stakeholders on the concerns that his administration intends to address in line with his 15-core agenda.
Among these are the city’s deteriorating environment, traffic, water supply, the need to expand and rehabilitate the city’s sewer and sewerage treatment plant, the need to improve the cemetery, and the need to improve the parks.
He called on the public to “keep an open mind” as the city government is doing its best to address these concerns.
“We need radical programs to address all these issues,” Magalong said.
He said the rehabilitation of Baguio will be done by phases, as the city government could not implement all the projects and programs on a one-time basis.
Cimatu, Puyat, and Año committed their support to the city government’s initiatives.
Cimatu reiterated the DENR’s support to the city government, particularly in the implementation of laws and policies for the preservation of the city’s environment.
“The DENR is committed to help the city in balancing regulatory and developmental approaches to ensure environmental protection, conservation, and management. We can help the city come up with ordinances adaptable to its environment and make it resilient to climate change,” Cimatu said.
The DOT, through the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Development Authority, formalized during the meeting its P480 million support for the improvement of Burnham Park, through the memorandum of agreement signed between Magalong and Tieza Chief Operating Officer Pocholo Paragas.
Puyat said aside from the assistance to Burnham Park, the DOT is also looking at how it will help in the efforts to rehabilitate the city’s sewerage system.
“We want to help Baguio City establish itself as a beacon of sustainable development,” Puyat said.
Año said that as the city government works on the rehabilitation of Baguio, the residents and tourists should also do their part in protecting the city.
“We are here to see how the national government can extend support to the rehabilitation of Baguio, but residents and tourists should help us in this plight. Hindi madali ang ating tatahaking landas pero kung tayo ay magtutulungan, magtatagumpay tayo,” he said.
He said residents should do their part in taking care of the city’s environment, adding, “We do not want Baguio to be called the ‘highest smoky mountain’ in the same way that Boracay was once tagged as a ‘smoky mountain on the beach’ because of the decrepit state of its environment before it was subjected to rehabilitation. – Jane B. Cadalig