BAGUIO CITY – The City Council passed a resolution recognizing the ownership of the State-owned Government Service Insurance system (GSIS) over the tree park adjoining the city-owned Baguio Convention Center (BCC).
The resolution was adopted by the members of the city legislative body after Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong transmitted to the city legislative body the desire of the members of the GSIS Board of Directors for the city to acknowledge that the property is owned by the GSIS in exchange for the proposed rehabilitation of the tree park to become an added tourist attraction in the city.
Earlier, the city government submitted to the GSIS management a proposed conceptual development plan for the current tree park situated near the Baguio convention Center to serve as a promenade park and an added tourist attraction in the city in the future.
The existing tree park is part of the various properties owned by the GSIS in the city’s central business district after the city government purchased the Baguio Convention Center (BCC) and the 1-hectare parking lot from the State insurance corporation, thus, the same was segregated from its property.
Former Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan stood firm to the position of the city government that the area should remain as a tree park considering it is among the few remaining open spaces in the central business district that serve as a buffer zone, thus, the GSIS management was constrained to support the said position of the city and shelve whatever development plans for the area which had been in the pipeline for several decades now.
The city government planned to purchase the property from the GSIS but both parties were not able to reach an agreement on the purchase price for the prime lot that is situated within the city’s central business district area.
Even pupils of a private learning institution in the city joined the city government in expressing their sentiments for the sustainable preservation and protection of the tree park to help strike a balance in the city’s state of environment, especially that it is just among the few vacant spaces planted with trees in the city proper.
The city chief executive claimed that part of the condition imposed by the GSIS board of Directors for the maintenance and development of the tree park as a promenade area in the future is for the city government to pass a resolution recognizing that the area is owned by the State insurance corporation.
Based on the latest inventory conducted by concerned government agencies and offices of the city government, there are nearly 600 assorted tree species planted within the over 3-hectare property aside from serving as a haven for different animals and birds that are endemic to the highly elevated areas.
Concerned sectors in the city vowed to extend whatever assistance to the GSIS and the city government for the maintenance of the tree park and the eventual development of the area as a possible promenade park at the expense of the GSIs in the future once it will receive the resolution from the city government./Dexter A. See