Balili downfall starts in 1960s-A A +A
Sunday, September 2, 2012
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet - Balili River started getting polluted in the 60s.
University of the Philippines Baguio Chancellor Raymundo Rovillos said massive destruction began for the river during the 1960s when Baguio City began picking up as an educational hub.
Rovillos said during that time, there were many industries being set up in the mountain city, affecting the ecosystem of the Balili River.
UPB College of Social Sciences research showed a detailed history of the river starting from the pre-Hispanic Era to the present highlighting each era's contribution to its degradation.
According to historical records, the headwater of Balili River is Sagudin River found in Barangay Trancoville, Baguio City.
Sagudin River is sustained by tributary creeks coming from Pacdal, Cabinet Hill, New Lucban, Honeymoon, Guisad, and Sto. Niño (formerly Slaughter Compound) barangays running through the City of Baguio, La Trinidad and Sablan towns in Benguet.
Rovillos said the pollution peaked anew in the 1990s after the earthquake, when development peaked again for Baguio infusing massive population.
"It is now in a bad state, and it would take a lifetime effort to clean up," he said. "Now we know how the paradise got lost, it is because of human intervention."
The UPB research started in the 1897, when Balili River was seen as part of a swamp. The river was then named "Arroyo de Mapili" or Little River. It served as a primary source for food, flora and fauna for people living in the area and nearby towns.
In 1847, La Trinidad was formally established as a settlement.
In the Spanish era, flooding was reported in the river, forcing the Spaniards to build a drainage system.
The research pinpoints the Japanese Imperial era started the commercial production of temperate vegetables.
During the Japanese time, La Trinidad became a battleground, evidenced with defense posts in Cruz area. A cemetery for Japanese forces was also established in the area based on the research.
The Balili River is still classified as Class A in 1975 and its water is intended for public water supply, meant to get minimal treatment and its water can be used for drinking. Over the years, however, the condition of the river deteriorated.
Advocates said reclassification of the river should be done, but others argue the Class A seal should now become a goal all should work for to achieve. (Ma. Elena Catajan)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 03, 2012.