Revisiting the BLISTT Plan (I)-A A +A
Real Estate Updates
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Just like an old worn-out clothes or a fully used rug, the BLISTT metropolitan development plan had resurfaced for the nth time once again. The news story reports that the speeding up of the Metro Baguio development plan composed of Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay (Blistt) local governments would decongest the City of Baguio which has already reached its full capacity.
The report stated that the meeting of BLISTT mayors would focus on the development of other adjoining towns which would benefit from the transfer of development from the city center to other outlying areas. This will make the LISST towns the beneficiary of new growth areas resulting from the Metro Baguio development plan.
By the year 2020, our planners say, Blistt will be inhabited by about 457,000 to 985,000 persons based on a variety of low to high estimates. This is about two to three times our present population of 362,000.
With the population increase, the amount needed for housing land will be anywhere between a low of 1,892 hectares to a high of 3,825 hectares. Apart from housing, land is also required for work, schools, hospitals, roads and urban services.
Concomitant to population increase coupled with bigger land requirements will be undue pressure spawned on Water Supply, Drainage, Sewage and Solid Waste Disposal and the Environment. At present, only three-quarters of household are served by the Water District distribution system in Baguio. Water Supply is not constant. Many receive water only 4 days per week or less. Others have to rely on expensive water tanks and water delivery trucks distribution. Inadequate water supply remains to be a critical problem.
Big increases in population makes water availability a worse problem. Groundwater is being used faster that it can be replaced. Pollution of water sources is increasing and remains unabated. Squatting on watersheds worsens this problem every year. Unaccounted water losses in the systems stands at around 30precent.
Present drainage system especially in the city cannot deal with the volume of run-off during heavy rains. A number of projects have commenced or are planned to reduce flooding in the center of Baguio, in the City Camp lagoon area and elsewhere.
The operations at the existing sewage system is still wanting in satisfaction. Sewage in Baguio flows down through various river arteries more particularly the Balili River in La Trinidad. The soil waste disposal system is inadequate and often times unhealthy. Many of the household rubbish is dumped down hillsides or in rivers and canals, causing further problems. Water courses are polluted because existing sewerage and solid waste disposal systems remain inadequate.
There is a danger that the worsening of these environmental problems will mean that tourists, scholars and other visitors will no longer find Baguio and its surrounds attractive. Protection of the environment and sustainable development is very important.
In Baguio alone, population increase remains at a critical level. Based on the National Statistics Office (NSO) census data as of May 2010, the city had registered as one of the highest population densities in the country with some 5,542 individuals occupying every square kilometer compared to some 4,389 individuals per square kilometer in 2000. That is an increase of about 26.27precent within a ten year period or an annual population density increase of 2.62 precent.
This translates to a present population of about 319,000 residents within a small land area of only 57 square kilometers. This increases to about 150,000 individuals at daytime since the city is also the region’s trade and educational center with residents of adjoining towns and other provinces conducting economic activities and seeking employment in the city. Couple this with the student population enrolled in more than a dozen higher education institutions here.
This is what our local government executives and planners in the BLISTT Urban Planning Project or Metro Baguio Development Plan will be facing as they go through laying the plan’s framework. The end result is to come up with a comprehensive master plan to direct and organize further growth and means of servicing the population. In short, the common vision is to make BLISTT a better place in the coming years. This is the essence of the urban metropolitan planning.
(The writer is a Certified Public Accountant and president of the Baguio Realtors Board, Inc. Apart from being a recognized Real Estate Practitioner as a Real Estate Broker and Educator, Lecturer and Resource Person, he is likewise a Business Management/ NGO/Cooperative Consultant, Project Development Consultant, Financial Advisor/Loan Broker and Columnist. For comments and more information of Real Estate Updates and Studies, you may get in touch with him at No. 04 Old Forestry Compound, Baguio City 2600, Tel. No (074) 427-1971/ Cell Nos. 09109302753/09163188274 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org/ email@example.com).
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 23, 2012.