Mayor: Study privatized convention center-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
AFTER two failed bids, the rehabilitation of the decaying Baguio Convention Center is still at a standstill.
This after Mayor Mauricio Domogan revealed no contractor accepted the P15-million project offered in a bid to improve facilities inside the Baguio Convention Center.
He said they will have to revise the program of works of the P15-million allocated budget to entice contractors to undertake the daunting project.
Domogan said the fund allocated by the City Government aims to improve comfort rooms, repair leaking roofs, refurbish seats and replace carpets inside the more than three decades old facility.
The mayor, in his recent Ugnayan Panlungsod program, said the city is drafting the Terms of Reference to enter into a Public Private Partnership to enable to lift the current situation of the Baguio Convention Center and turn it into an income-generating asset of the local government.
He stressed, however, that city-led activities remain non-negotiable and must be free of charge and use even if a private developer undertakes the development and management of the facility.
He said city-initiated and endorsed activities must also remain as priority to be accommodated in the Baguio Convention Center.
Domogan also dismissed the entry of a Korean group to develop the property, saying these are untrue and no such moves are being opened up to him.
This came after the mayor was also criticized by Councilor Edison Bilog in a privilege speech before the City Council after coming up with the Terms of Reference for the development of another dilapidated city-owned property, the Baguio Athletic Bowl.
Mayor Domogan also reiterated there is a need to improve the Baguio Convention Center as it has been instrumental in boosting the city’s tourism industry.
The Baguio Convention Center, built on July 17, 1978 and inaugurated then by President Ferdinand Marcos, was once reputed as the most modern and spacious convention facility in the North.
However, after 34 years of use, the facility formerly owned by the Government Service Insurance System and turned over to the City Government a few years ago, is slowly crumbling with unkempt comfort rooms, moldy seats, and smelly carpets and leaking roofs.
Despite its lacking facilities, the Baguio Convention Center continues to play host to various city-wide activities, such as the annual Cordillera Month celebrations, Baguio Day and several annual Panagbenga Festival activities.
The Baguio Convention Center has also played host to international and national conventions, concerts by international and national artists and the 1978 World Chess Championship series between two Russian grandmasters Anatoly Karpov and Victor Korchnoi.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 02, 2012.