BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan welcomed the possibility of the city undergoing rehabilitation but stressed that the restoration should not be treated as a total closure like what was done to Boracay island.

Domogan was reacting to the pronouncement made by Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Unit Concerns Benny Antiporda that Baguio will be the next local government unit to undergo rehabilitation after Boracay, Palawan and Bohol.

“We welcome the help of the DENR if they can further augment what we have been doing with the EMB (Environmental Management Bureau) and the MGB (Mines and GeoSciences Bureau) in rehabilitating portions of the city that need rehabilitation,” Domogan said.

“But we do not like is to generalize that Baguio will be like Boracay because Boracay’s case is entirely different and there is no need for the city to be closed in order to rehabilitate. Baguio is a landlocked area aside from serving as a gateway to other areas in the different parts of Northern Luzon,” Domogan added.

He said the city has been addressing concerns on water and air pollution with projects and programs that have been in place for years now, most of which are in collaboration with the DENR Cordillera.

Mayor Domogan cited the city’s requirement for households and establishments to have their own septic tanks.

He said regular inspections are conducted with the violators whose sewer lines are directly drained in canals are notified and penalized.

The city also sustains its Salaknib ti Waig river reclamation project in collaboration with the private sectors where regular conferences are held to monitor the quality of the water in the river tributaries in the city.

He said the problem on piggeries has been addressed by the EMB in the light of a national law banning piggeries in cities.

“The law has somehow been humanized and the EMB agreed to give the piggery owners a three-year moratorium on the condition that they will provide their own septic tanks that are compliant with the law to prevent the dirt from flowing into the waterways,” he said.

As to the air pollution, he said the city has been addressing it being one of the first cities to install an apparatus to regularly measure and monitor the air quality in various areas in the city also in tandem with the EMB.

The city is also one of the first few cities in the city to partner with Clean Air having been chosen as a pilot area for Clean Air Certification, an international recognition of “innovative and impactful, voluntary action towards better air quality” given by the Clean Cities Air Partnership Program through the CAA.

Mayor Domogan also cited efforts to curb air pollution through the anti-smoke belching ordinance where a task force remains active in monitoring and apprehending vehicles emitting excessive smoke.

There were also the smoke-free and plastic-free ordinances being actively implemented.

As to the traffic woes, the mayor said the city government in partnership with the city police has continuously been searching for solutions and even engaged the help of other local government units.

“Unfortunately this is not an easy task as there are no laws banning the entry of tourists and preventing people from buying vehicles and we cannot just widen our roads as our city is planned to be good for only 25,000 with the adjoining lots all titled and occupied,”

Domogan said.

He said apart from constant traffic route and campaign readjustments, one solution being pursued is the improvement of alternate roads in the outskirts to decongest the central business district.

The mayor added that geological hazards in the city had been mapped also in coordination with the MGB-CAR and people are amply and constantly warned against occupying said areas.

In all these concerns, the mayor admitted that the city has to do more since the problems cannot be solved overnight and the help of the DENR will be most welcome.

“If DENR can come in to further augment what we are doing then we are glad because we have been partners in these programs and we appreciate the efforts of DENR-CSR regional director Ralph Pablo, EMB-CAR director Reynaldo Digamo and MGB-CAR Director Fay Apil who are very dedicated to their jobs,” the mayor said.– APR

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Baguio City sets quarterly inland waterways clean-up day

By Julie G. Fianza

BAGUIO CITY – Every fourth Thursday of every quarter is declared citywide clean-up day in Baguio’s inland waterways with all sectors: barangays, academe, business establishments, civic and professional groups, market associations government agencies and private institutions, and youth organizations enjoined to actively participate.

Administrative order 181, series of 2018 issued by Mayor Mauricio Domogan endeavors to empower the public in bringing back good inland water quality.

As such, a task force for Ambalanga, Balili, Bued, and Asin-Galliano river basins composed of concerned offices are assigned specific functions.

The Health Services Office (HSO) is tasked with instituting sanitation standards in areas of jurisdiction and issue Sanitation Order to violators and waterway polluters.

The City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO), as part of the Salaknib ti Waig river cleanliness program identifies sources of pollution along waterways, with the City Legal Office tasked with filing cases against violators for failure to comply with proper waste water disposal.

During occasions where there is plugging of illegal waste discharges, or demolitions of structures, the Philippine National Police (PNP) maintains peace and order, the AO states.

Barangay officials would identify waterway polluters in their area of jurisdiction, with the City Building and Architecture Office (CBAO) identifying illegal structures along waterways and lead demolition on illegal disposal system; with assistance from the Public Order and Safety Division (POSD) of the City Mayor’s Office.

The City Engineering Office (CEO) is in-charge of illegal dumped wastes causing waterways obstruction while the General Services Office (GSO) takes care of fished-out solid wastes from rivers and creeks.

Inland water must be protected as they are water sources recharged in aquifers, the AO further states.

The City Veterinary’s Office inspects existing hog raisers in the city, which may be demolished if built along waterways. Other illegal discharges or by-pass pipes are plugged by the concerned offices.

Hog raisers must comply with the AO’s provisions to continue operation: firstly a sufficient area for a CBAO/CEPMO-designed septic tank as to pig waste generated daily. A maximum of four pigs are allowed to be raised in a house, and the septic tank must be dislodged regularly with no overflow discharged towards any waterway, the AO states.

Hograisers located beyond 500 meters from any waterway are allowed to continue operation with technologies to prevent odor, proliferation of flies and processing of animal manure to compost. Even with compliance with the mentioned conditions, however, hog raising ceases after three years, based from the date of inspection.

Hog raisers unable to meet or are unwilling to comply with the settlements shall voluntarily demolish their pig pens upon receiving a notice of demolition, Mayor Domogan through the AO sternly warns, while sanitary practices are to be imposed by all sectors to promote inland waterways cleanliness. –juliegfianza

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Baguo City Council sets budget deliberations December 18

By Dexter See

BAGUIO CITY – Members of the local legislative body agreed to schedule the budget deliberations in a special session on Tuesday, December 18, 2018 to tackle the income and expenditures of the city next year.

The local legislative body decided to hold a special session instead of discussing the adjusted budget of the local government last Monday to allow more time for the different departments to be ready with their various programs, projects and expenditures next year.

Earlier, Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan transmitted to the local legislative body the adjusted proposed annual budget with an increment of P4 million from the projected increase in income from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes (PCSO) in the income portion of the proposed annual budget.

Domogan pointed out the proposed amount is proposed to be allocated for the 5 percent mandatory share of the disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) fund – P200,000; youth development under the Office of the City Mayor – P1 million; and additional funding for priority projects under the 20 percent local development fund for the fencing of the Sto. Tomas multi-land use area – P2.8 million.

He claimed a favorable action of the Council on the proposed annual budget will sustain the development programs the city collectively identified to improve the city and serve better the people as the current set of local officials are about to end their term.

On October 16, 2018, the Mayor submitted to the Council the P2.175 billion proposed annual budget of the city for 2019 for the latter to deliberate on and approve.

However, the Council returned to the City Mayor’s Office the proposed annual budget requesting for an increase in its income statement by at least P10 million to ensure the funding of more priority projects beneficial to the greater interest of the majority of the populace.

The city’s finance officers recommended to the local chief executive that only an adjustment of P4 million is possible in the proposed P10 million proposal considering that all the sources of income had been fully maximized as the local legislative body never passed the required corresponding revenue measures that can lead to a greater increase in income to fund projects that are emanating from them.

Under the provisions of the Local Government Code, it is only the local chief executive who is authorized to increase the proposed annual budget of local governments while the local legislative body is simply empowered to deliberate on the matter although the same is empowered to reduce the same for whatever reasons.

Further, the Local Government Code also provides that once the budget will not be acted upon by the local government during the current year, no items will be discussed by the local legislative body on the succeeding year until such time that the same will be approved in a prescribed period not exceeding 90 days. *DS/CMO-PIO

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New Baguio top cop vows to sustain peacekeeping initiatives

by Dexter See

BAGUIO CITY – The newly recommended City Director of the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) vowed to sustain the implementation of proven and effective anti-criminality and peacekeeping initiatives that elevated the city to be adjudged one of the top ten Safest Cities in Southeast Asia.

BCPO City Director Senior Superintendent Eliseo Tanding added that the local police force will also continue aligning its existing programs, projects and initiatives to the current thrust of President Rodrigo R. Duterte and the Philippine National Police (PNP) which is to put an end to the illegal drug menace and achieve lasting peace not only I the city but also in the whole country as well.

He claimed that the BCPO’s existing peace and order programs, projects and initiatives seem to be aligned with the current thrust of the government that is why what is important is for the local police force to intensify the same to curb the proliferation of illegal drugs in the city and address whatever are the missing links in the peace and order campaign to help in sustaining the decent peace and order situation in one of the country’s premier tourist destinations.

“We agree to the contention of city officials that we will sustain the implementation of proven and effective anti-criminality and peacekeeping initiatives so that there will be continuity in what had been started by our predecessors to avoid another period of adjustment once we try to drastically change the same,” Tanding stressed.

Tanding took over the helm of the BCPO as Acting City Director after the 2-year tour of duty of former City Director Senior Superintendent Ramil Saculles lapsed over two months ago prior to his being recommended for appointment by the local screening committee as the permanent City Director of Baguio’s finest.

Prior to his designation as Acting BCPO City Director, he occupied various sensitive positions on the PNP general headquarters and as Provincial Director of the Nueva Ecija Provincial Police Office.

He committed to implement programs that will boost the morale of the men and uniform to ensure that they will be able to effectively and efficiently perform their assigned duties and responsibilities and achieve the overall objective of realizing better peace and order situation in the whole city to continue enticing more foreign and domestic visitors to frequent the city and contribute to its sustained robust economic growth.

Earlier, the local screening committee created by Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan conducted a screening on the 5 applicants for BCPO City Director who were included in the shortlist submitted by the PNP to the local chief executive from where he will supposedly select the chief of the local police force.

Aside from requiring the applicants to submit their performance rating for two consecutive rating periods, their personal information sheet and other pertinent documents that will support their application, the local screening committee also conducted an interview to each of the applicants to ascertain how they will implement their programs that will sustain the improving peace and order situation in the city in the next two years.–CMO-PIO