Irisan is Baguio City's biggest barangay. The city is getting ready for a large-scale rehabilitation program that the local government says will address environmental issues and further boost tourism in the popular summer destination.
The STAR/Artemio Dumlao
National, city government officials lay groundwork for Baguio rehabilitation
Artemio Dumlao ( - January 7, 2020 - 8:52am

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — Baguio's rehabilitation will include a comprehensive program to address the city's environmental issues and boost tourism, the its mayor said.

This, as a high-level meeting between the national government and Baguio City officials starts this week to lay the groundwork for the rehabilitation plan.

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the local government will present priority projects the development of Burnham Park, a youth convergence center, pay parking buildings and interventions on improving the quality of waste water, water quality management, solid waste management to top officials of the Tourism, Interior and Local Government, and Environment departments.

Earlier, Magalong was quoted as saying that the iconic Burnham Park will be closed from March to October 2020 for refurbishing. The Tourism department has already allotted funds for the park's rehabilitation.

The park, designed by American engineer Daniel Burnham designed the park a century ago, is home to the man-made Burnham Lake, Children's Playground, Skating Rink, Rose Garden, Orchidarium, Igorot Park, Melvin Jones Grandstand, Athletic Bowl, Picnic Grove, Japanese Peace Tower, Pine Trees of the World, and the Sunshine Park.

The park's rehabilitation is expected to take about eight months and cost P500 million. A priority for the rehabilitation is fixing the park's drainage system to prevent flooding. The drainage repairs are estimated to cost P100 million.  

Baguio City’s market, another tourist spot, will also be rehabilitated in phases. The makeover, to be done over two years, will cost at least P5 billion and will, Magalong said, would turn it from "one of the worst markets in the entire country" to one of the best. 

The city is also preparing to host the quarterly board meeting of the Asian Development Bank in March.

Baguio City is availing of a P20-billion soft loan and grant for the city's waste water management and the provision of adequate potable water for its growing population.

"Champion teams" of the city government are being prepared for each of the priority development projects to ensure their success, Magalong said.

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