Task force, agencies to tackle development plan for Baguio-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Thursday, February 14, 2013
SEVERAL agencies led by a task force are meeting on February 25 to come up with a sustainable development plan for Baguio City following an executive order of President Benigno Aquino III.
Aquino ordered various agencies to look into the development of the Summer Capital that now faces challenges of urban decay and deterioration of its tourism sites.
The executive order noted the overdevelopment of the city, coupled with the lack of zoning and land use plans, has affected the environment and sustainable tourism.
Tourism regional director Purificacion Molintas said a decrease in tourism arrivals in the city was also noted; and from being the third top destination in the country in the past, Baguio City has slid to ninth place out of 14 destinations like Camarines Sur and Cebu.
Molintas said the agency is gathering data to report to the Presidential Task Force chaired by Secretary Ramon Jimenez.
Joining Secretary Jimenez in the task force are Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel Roxas III, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson, Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila De Lima and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje.
She said they are looking not just into the development of Baguio City but of adjoining towns La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay (BLISTT).
The agency is also in the process of gathering Comprehensive Land Use Plans (CLUP) and other zoning ordinances crafted by local governments in the BLISTT area to find ways of incorporating it in the overall development plan.
She said the Presidential Task Force will also look into an oversight body to help the body plan accordingly.
She explained the committee is done with their development plan for Boracay with the creation of a development council there to oversee developments as well as enforce environmental laws, zoning and land use ordinances which have been overlooked in the past.
The regional director added the country’s top beach destination will be managed by the development council that will go as far as demolishing high-rise resort buildings that has already encroached on the beach front as well as other developments not in line with the existing building code.
The City Government, meanwhile, is in the process of finalizing the CLUP, which is now being discussed in several hearings under the Committee on Urban Planning, Lands and Housing chaired by Councilor Isabelo Cosalan.
Among the inclusions in the CLUP suggested by the tourism sector include providing incentives for those preserving heritage zones.
Former city architect Jody Alabanza of the Baguio Heritage Foundation suggested the regulation of existing designs of developments in cultural and heritage sites in the city which should be embedded in the CLUP.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 14, 2013.