Baguio to remain open to tourists amid rehab

BAGUIO CITY—National government officials on Friday assured that Baguio City will remain open to everybody while rehabilitation works are being done.
“We will not close Baguio, how can you close it?” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said during the press conference as part of the city’s development update briefing at The Mansion here.
Puyat, who came with Interior Secretary Eduardo Año for the briefing, assured her department’s support to the rehabilitation program.
The rehabilitation will include the development and improvement of Burnham Park, city market, Mines View Park, Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) and former dumpsite at Barangay Irisan which was converted to an Environment Recycling System (ERS) following its closure in 2012.
In her opening statement, Puyat said rehabilitation of areas and destinations in the country is part of the agenda of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“To instill the culture of responsible tourism and attain sustainable tourism,” Romulo-Puyat said.
She said rehabilitation started in Boracay followed by Coron and El Nido in Palawan, Bohol and now its Baguio.
“Rehab is possible if a local government unit is very cooperative and this is evident in Baguio…This is just the beginning, we can capture the former glory of Baguio,” she said.
Meanwhile, Año said Baguio is different from Boracay, which the people forgot to take care of.
Baguio is the city that is taking the lead in its rehabilitation, he added.
“We are here to determine how the national government will help in the rehabilitation,” Año said.
The briefing included the land-use plan of Baguio by a representative of the city planning office, the carrying capacity study of Baguio by Economic and Development Agency regional director Milagros Rimando and the city’s redevelopment plan.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong detailed the development plan that will be done in Baguio starting off with Burnham Park which got PHP480-million funding from the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA).
The plan includes a PHP600 million modern sidewalk project in the city, which has so far got PHP50 million from the DPWH.
The rehabilitation will include environmental activities, traffic and transport programs, water supply and tourism destinations.
The rehabilitation plan will extend to more than three years.
Romulo-Puyat and Año, together with Environment Assistant Secretary Jesus Enrique Moises Salazar representing Secretary Roy Cimatu, were accompanied by city officials in visiting Burnham Park, the ERS at Irisan, the sewage treatment plant, and Mines View Park for an ocular inspection./Liza Agoot (PNA)