Baguio’s problems bigger

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014


IF BORACAY'S over development and environmental woes seem to be a big problem, an outgoing tourism official said Baguio City's redevelopment is a problem bigger and harder to solve.

Outgoing Department of Tourism regional director Purificacion Molintas said the city's problems on land ownership and conflicting land claims are far more complicated issues compared to that of Boracay.

Contrary to observations of some critics that the task force has been focusing only in Boracay with Baguio left to solve its own concerns, Molintas said there have been regular meetings concentrating only on land issues in the city as well as the beautification of city parks.

She said legal problems besetting overlapping land claims and coverage of Certificate of Ancestral Land Titles in parks and reservations are being tackled regularly by the committee.

“There are five properties that Representative Nicasio Aliping and Mayor Mauricio Domogan has brought up to the Technical Working Group which is now looking into these titles. There were some commitments made by national line agencies concerned to address these land problems,” she said.

Molintas said land issues would really take time to address as it involves legal procedures that usually takes time to resolve.

But aside from focusing on the land problems, the committee is also committed through the TWG chaired by Department of Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. for a master development plan of the city which will preserve the Summer Capital’s important tourism and heritage zones.

The outgoing tourism executive said aside from the master development plan, the task force is also looking into rehabilitation of parks as clearly seen in the convergence projects being implemented at Burnham Park with road improvements at Lake Drive, Jose Abad Santos and Juan Luna Drive.

The project also covers placing of porous terra cotta tiles in the park sidewalks to improve aesthetics of the park.

A redevelopment plan of the Kennon Road Lion’s Head is also being prepared by the Department of Tourism and the Department of Public Works and Highways to improve prevailing conditions at the famed tourist destination.

Molintas said improving the vista of tourists is important for the Baguio and Boracay Technical Working Group which is why the needed beautification and improvement of the layout of the site first seen by tourists when entering Baguio should be considered.

The regional Technical Working Group has proposed a P50 million budget for the redevelopment that will be implemented next year.

As the first destination frequented by tourists heading for Baguio city, Molintas stressed it is only apt for the Lion’s Head to be organized with the construction of a wider view deck and murals depicting Baguio’s history to be constructed at the back portion of the structure to give visitors a preview of what’s in store for them in the Summer Capital and the Cordilleras.

Vendors selling pasalubong and souvenir items will also be removed as it has become an eyesore as she stressed these stalls should be located in multipurpose building where visitors can visit as a one-stop shop where there is a tourism information booth, clean restrooms and souvenir shops.

Coordination for the transfer of vendors to a specific area for souvenir shops will also be delegated by the agency to the local government who has been active in its drive against illegal vendors at the Baguio public market.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 01, 2014.

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