BAGUIO City Councilor Elmer Datuin assured that the city will not suffer the same fate as Boracay.
“We do not see that happening,” assured the councilor.
Datuin brushed off speculation of a closure to be imposed on the city like the beach haven saying President Rodrigo Duterte will not do that to the city.
The lawmaker said the strong immigration of the city has contributed to the growth in population but stressed, the city has been augmenting the growing needs of the mountain resort.
Writer Mary Ann Ll. Reyes in a column of a national broadsheet wrote the city will soon be dead saying “Baguio, the Philippines’ summer capital, has a capacity of 20,000 inhabitants but due to influx of migrants and tourists, it now has a daytime population of about 400,000, which can balloon to more than 1.5 million during the Panagbenga Flower Festival.”
Reyes continued that locals generally hate it when the holidays and summer arrives. “And why not? Traffic, which is already bad, worsens so that a typical 15-minute ride could stretch to more than an hour. The streets are turned to parking lots. This is because many establishments do not have their own parking areas. How can you operate a hotel and have a parking area that can only accommodate 10 vehicles at any given time? Where are the other cars supposed to park? Multiply this situation a hundred fold and you get a pretty good picture of Baguio at the present time.”
The writer said garbage, pollution, wanton and illegal cutting of trees, levelling of mountain, air and noise pollution, overpopulation, as well as climate change has affected the city and will suffer the same fate at Boracay.
“We are doing everything to remain a living city,” Datuin said adding the writer is wrong in her piece and debunked the statements.
In 2013, under former Department of Tourism–Cordillera regional director Purificacion Molintas, a presidential task was formed for both Boracay and Baguio which was tagged as “fragile” by the palace.
Datuin said a development plan was presented as well as present efforts of the government to address issues on population growth and tourism.
Back then, the Boarcay task force was set to implement the removal of over 200 illegal structures along the white sand of the islands in a bid to preserve the environment as well as set standards to tourism infrastructure.
“It is very unfortunate for Boracay, but it is not the same for Baguio,” Datuin said.
The task force included the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of the Interior and Local Government as well as the Department of Justice where focal points in tourism development were discussed and a plan for the BLISST areas was presented.