Areas for rehabilitation in city bared in briefing with three line agencies

BAGUIO CITY – City officials presented Jan. 10 the major issues and areas in the city that require rehabilitation before key officials of the Depts. of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources and the Interior and Local Government.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong identified the environment, traffic and transport, water supply, tourist destinations and geo-hazard areas occupied by informal settlers as the main aspects necessitating immediate and strategic action for the improvement of the city.
During the briefing, DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año and Assistant Secretary Jesus Enrico Moises Salazar representing DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu affirmed support to the city government’s rehabilitative initiatives towards sustainable development.
Puyat committed to download to the city government the P480 million from the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) for the rehabilitation of the Burnham Park complex.
A memorandum of agreement for said project was signed by Mayor Magalong and TIEZA Chief Operating Officer Pocholo Paragas as witnessed by Secretaries Puyat and Año.
In his report on the Baguio City development prospects, Mayor Magalong also spelled out the city’s programs, projects and activities in the pipeline to address the concerns for rehabiliation.
Under the environment, the mayor named the city sewerage system, solid waste management, green cover, air quality and the city cemetery as the main areas of concern.
Projects lined up are the rehabilitation of the existing sewerage treatment plant and construction of additional plants and upgrading of the sewerline system, conversion of the Irisan dumpsite into an eco-park, establishment of more materials recovery facilities in the barangays, waste-to-energy technology; drafting of the regreening master plan for 2020-2030, establishment of tree farms and nurseries, improvement and expansion of the city cemetery.
On the traffic and transport, the concerns were congestion, carbon emission and road obstructions of which solutions being eyed are the setting up of integrated transport terminals, construction of parking building projects, improvements and construction of sidewalks, pursuit of the public utility vehicle modernization program, pursuit of alternative transport systems like cable car and monorail systems, automated guideway transit and rehabilitation of the Loakan Airport and the pursuit of the smart city system which addresses the security and safety, traffic management, no-contact apprehensions, smart lighting, environment monitoring and calamity and disaster monitoring and response.
On water supply, the city targets the bulk water project, water retention and water clarification facilities.
Improving the tourist destinations would involve the development of the Burnham Park, Mines View Park, Arboretum, Bayan Park, Botanical Garden, Government Service Insurance System Tree Park, Eco-Park and Wright Park, the market development and the improvement of the heritage sites.
Other activities in the pipeline are the passage of legislative measures imposing environmental, congestion, traffic impact and other fees, strict enforcement of environmental laws, increase of fines for traffic violators, revision of designs of road islands, removal of waiting sheds from intersections, requiring commercial buildings to construct rain harvesting facilities and their own sewerage treatment plants for those with daily discharge of 12 cubic meters or more.
Assistant City Planning and Development Coordinator Antonette Anaban who presented on the city land use situation and updates also identified poor air quality, pollution of rivers, traffic congestion, diminishing forest cover and informal settlers and illegal structures within hazard and protected areas as the major problems faced by the city.
National Economic Development Authority Cordillera Regional Director Milagros Rimando presented the results of the study on the urban carrying capacity of the city which was completed last November.
The results showed that the city has breached its carrying capacity on seven critical indicators which include the land for construction and development, urban road length and area, solid waste collection, water supply and liquid waste treatment capacity and forest cover. ** Aileen P. Refuerzo

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