BAGUIO Centennial Commission (CenteCom) formally ends its tenure on August 31, 2010. This will also formally terminate the city's centennial year celebrated last September 1, 2009. This centennial period concludes at the end of August this year.
While CenteCom is set to close its mandate, it leaves behind some projects arising out of the centennial program.
These projects are:
1. Obelisk construction. This 50 feet tall structure pays tribute to the early settlers and pioneers who contributed their share in the development of the city for the past years. The complete design of the monument has been completed and approved by the commission. A proposal is set for submission to the office of the Baguio congressman for possible fund sources for the project.
2. Time Capsule. This is programmed to be installed at an appropriate area within the Baguio Centennial Park along Leonard Wood Road. It is still in the conceptual stage with preparations for the design for project implementation. The capsule shall contain all pertinent data connected to the marking of the city's 100 years.
3. Centennial park. Its conceptual development plan has been completed and approved by the City Council. Part of the proposal calls for the proper development of the main entrance to the park together with an amphitheater. The project plans have been submitted to the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) for the required funding of P5 million as favorably acknowledged by the tourism body.
4. Centennial Markers. A number of 35 identified historical sites in the city have been chosen for installation of centennial markers. So far, only the markers for City Hall, Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, Camp John Hay and Maharlika Livelihood Center have been installed. The installation of the markers is dependent on the availability of funds.
5. Baguio Builders Book. The production of the book is on-going. It shall be all of 352 pages. It shall contain all the 272 builders of Baguio awardees to include 100 individuals, 100 institutions and 72 pioneer families who, in their own way, helped develop and build the City of Baguio. It shall also contain pages depicting the growth of the city in photos and articles over the past 100 years. The staff of the book is rushing preparations to have the book published before the end of August.
6. Beyond 2009 Project. This includes strategic actions on the preservation of centennial legacies and beyond 2009.
7. Ecology Project. Clean-up of Sagudin River commenced. This is being continued. Seedlings have also been produced for reforesting the banks and adjacent areas of the river in partnership with the local office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
8. Orchidarium. In the conceptual stage on coordination, planning and implementation.
9. Mining Museum. In the conceptual stage. Coordination and planning in process.
10. Burnham Park Fencing. Fund campaign being intensified with calls for adoption and sponsorships.
How these projects will fare after the end of the CenteCom mandate is unsure. Perhaps, the city may elect to undertake the same. Maybe, some interested private entities may take up the challenge and pursue the same to conclusion.
For now, there is a plan for the members of CenteCom to establish a foundation after the conclusion of the existence of the commission. This will be some kind of a heritage development foundation. The foundation may also be able to address some of these unfinished concerns. But, this will generally depend on available funds.
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During his state of the nation address before the joint session of the House of Representatives and the Senate, President Benigno Aquino, 3rd, divulged a scheme for the lease of the Philippine Navy base along Roxas Boulevard. This plan is supposed to generate funds for the benefit of the country's naval military component plus added financial gains on the side. Pnoy's plan could help modernize the Philippine navy which he said only about 30 or so serviceable ships most are as old as the late Gen. Doulas McArthur. The plan includes the transfer of the Philippine naval base to Camp Aguinaldo at the expense of the unnamed prospective lessee of the Roxas Boulevard naval base.
Taking the cue from this development, perhaps authorities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) could take similar steps in the case of its PMA Camp Allen property in downtown Baguio and the AFP Navy Base area in Pacdal for quarters of top officers of the military.
These two military facilities can be moved or transferred to a single site, possibly within the sprawling reservation of the PMA at Fort del Pilar. The vacated sites at Camp Allen and the Navy Base in Baguio can then be either leased or sold to interested parties to generate needed funds.
This action could be economically feasible and attractive for the PMA whose officers housed at the Allen site use both fuel in commuting to and from Allen to the Fort Del Pilar Campus on a daily basis. It will also help ease the wear and tear of vehicles being used for commuting. Most important, there is also the administrative cost for the maintenance of Camp Allen. Funds generated out of the lease or sale of Allen could further be utilized for the improvement and development of Fort Del Pilar.
The same can be said of the navy base, Baguio compound of the AFP. This site is being maintained to accommodate top brass of the military when they are in Baguio. Cottages are maintained in the area for periodic use of visiting ranking general and admirals of the AFP whenever they are in town. The AFP chief of staff and chiefs of major military branches have their own cottages at the site. Even the police director-general has a cottage at the base.
The lease and/or sale of these military establishments could result in additional funds for development and improvement purposes of the armed forces.
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TRIVIA. Rep. Edcel Lagman, House minority leader, has filed a proposed bill which would make life easier for the country's centenarians. Lagman says country's centenarians, reported to be about 2,000, can be extended 50 percent discounts for goods and services and granted a P100,000 government award for living this way, in the development of the country.
In Baguio which just celebrated its 100 years, nine centenarians have been identified and awarded by the city government and the CenteCom for their respective contributions to the progress and development of Baguio. As senior citizens, they are beneficiaries of the 20 percent discounts on goods and services plus other lesser discounts on other services like transportation, medical and dental checkups in government medical establishments, movies, etc.
The Lagman proposal enlarges current senior citizens benefits now available under specific laws as far as centenarians are concerned.