BAGUIO CITY – The acquisition of the Baguio Convention Center by the city government from the State-run Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) has made local event organizing one of the lucrative businesses in the city considering that transactions for the use of the facility had become easier and accessible.
Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan cited the city government more or less P316 million to acquire the Baguio Convention Center from the GSI|S to allow the local government to own a convention facility that could be used in the conduct of various local, regional, national and even international gatherings.
Part of the funds used by the city in the acquisition of the convention center was its accumulated share from the 25 percent share of the city from the lease rentals of the Camp John Hay (CJH) which was lodged with the State-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).
“We will continue to introduce the needed developments to our convention facility so that we will be able to cater to the requirements of the grow3ing number of event organizers wanting to avail of the use of the center for their scheduled activities,” Domogan stressed.
It can be recalled that the city government, GSIS and BCDA signed a tripartite agreement sometime in February 2004 for the acquisition of the Baguio Conventer by the city from the GSIS using the city’ accumulated share from the privatization of CJH wherein the city is entitled to a 25 percent share from the annual lease rental of the former American rest and recreation center in the city.
However, the previous administrations of the city failed to work on the tripartite agreement that resulted to the surge in the city’s obligation to over P300 million until the same was fully settled when Mayor Domogan came back as the local chief executive in 2010.
Various event organizers have an easier time booking their scheduled activities in the Baguio Convention Center because they now deal with the city government unlike before that they have to work with the rigors of transacting with the GISI just to use the facility for their lined up events for the year.
Moreover, organizers can also easily request for a significant reduction in the rentals of the facility as it passes through the city council compared to the previous transactions that such similar requests pass through the GSIS central office.
According to the mayor, among the initial improvements to be done using the P40 million earmarked by the city under its budget this year includes the improvement of its drainage system, electrical system and its landscaping so that more organizers will be enticed to hold their scheduled activities in the city.
He cited the city government and the GSIS are currently working out the overlapping survey results so that the occupied portion of the facility and its parking area will be ceded to the city to facilitate the issuance of the title in the name of the local government. /Dexter A. See