The City Government of Baguio won the 2020 Most Business-Friendly LGU Awards for City Level 1B Category (highly urbanized cities outside of Metro Manila) for successfully restoring and increasing the business operations in the locality thru sustained and innovative actions despite extreme challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The award was conferred today by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) via virtual awarding ceremony during the 46th Philippine Business Conference and Expo with the theme innovation@ph.
Baguio City bested Bacolod City, Cagayan de Oro City, Davao City, General Santos City, Iloilo City, Mandaue City, Olongapo City and Zamboanga City
The PCCI cited the initiatives of LGU Baguio through the leadership of Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong in addressing the impacts of the current pandemic to the business community particularly the gradual opening of tourism establishments introducing the use of digital technology through Visitor Information and Travel Assistance (VISITA) online registration platform as well as the Ridge and Reef Tourism Corridor for Baguio City, La Union, Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte (BLUPISIN).
Also noteworthy is the transition plan of the city government from enhanced community quarantine to general community quarantine which laid out financial assistance programs such as the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Recovery Plan, the City Recovery and Resiliency Plan 2020-2022, the Baguio Revitalization Actions for a Vibrant Economy – Economic Stimulus Package (BRAVE-ESP), and the subsidy for public utility jeepney drivers and operators.
Policies allowing MSMEs to cope with the pandemic were also issued through city council resolutions and ordinances particularly tax relief, rental holiday, waiver for rents and 30-day grace period for rent payments.
In lowering the risk of virus exposure among workers in the business sector, Baguio City issued directives and policies on compliance to health protocols particularly requiring wearing of face masks and face shields and targeted lockdowns among others.
Baguio City has 23,037 total registered enterprises in 2019 which contributed to the city’s collection of P1,139,257,600.44 locally sourced income – from business and real property taxes, which is higher compared to the Internal Revenue Allotment of P829,206,491.00.
The PCCI’s annual expo is considered the largest business gathering in the country serving as a venue for policy makers, business leaders, diplomats, academe and MSMEs sharing ideas for sustainable and resilient business environment. – Jessa Samidan