BAGUIO CITY – Members of the Timpuyog ti Baguio Coalition made a last minute appeal to the city’s electorate not to gamble their votes for politicians that do not possess the sufficient experience and track record in public service because the city will again suffer a tremendous setback similar to what happened when voters opted to try promising leaders.
Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said the state of development that the city was able to achieve through the years was a product of teamwork, unity, solidarity and love for Baguio which he wants to sustain in his last term as the city’s local chief executive.
The local chief executive pointed out his rivals in the city’s mayoralty position have been criticizing the way his administration handled the affairs of the city government but their programs and projects are copy cut of what had already been done and will be pursued by his leadership once given a fresh mandate by the people on the May 9, 2016 general and automated elections.
“The garbage disposal problem of the city is an individual and collective responsibility of local residents. Since we came back as the city mayor in 2010, we were able to clear the city’s roads from the piles of garbage that tainted a bad image of the city from visitors but the same was effectively and efficiently addressed through the support and cooperation of the people,” Domogan stressed.
Hauling of the city’s residual waste outside the city is a temporary solution but the city mayor undercored the put up of the city’s integrated solid waste disposal facility either in Sto. Tomas Apugan or in Antamok, Itogon, Benguet will be the permanent solution to the city’s garbage disposal woes.
He criticized the program of his rival by encouraging local residents to bring their garbage to city hall to be replaced with apples and oranges, saying that such program is an afterthought because it will contribute in the generation of waste without an area where to permanently dump the garbage to be brought to the city hall grounds thereby risking the cleanliness and greenery of the city.
In terms of the allegations of over development in the city, the city government had been strictly adhering to the stringent rules prescribed under the comprehensive land use plan and zoning ordinance but there were supervening factors that affected the implement station of such conditions, specifically the decision of the Secretary of Public works and Highways who is the final arbiter in the enforcement of the National Building code that reversed earlier rulings by the zoning official prohibiting high rise buildings in the central business district area.
The city had been firm in enforcing the 6-storey building height limit but such decisions of the city building official were reversed by the Public Works Secretary in several decisions that allowed the construction of buildings more than the prescribed limit.
The promised relocation of business outside the central business district is already being done by the city such as what has been done by the St. Louis University (SLU) in establishing its campus in Bakakeng Norte/Sur and the same is being followed by other education institutions and businesses considering the crafting of policies under the Baguio-La Triidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) area where there will be a sharing of resources and opportunities for development.
The solution to the city’s worsening traffic problems is the construction of a multi-level parking building at the Ganza parking area and at the former city auditorium area coupled with the conduct of the feasibility study to ascertain what would be the most applicable public transport system in the city in the future.
Before Domogan took over the city government in 1992, the budget of the city was less than P100 million but for this year, the city’s budget increased to P1.622 billion.
During Domogan’s term as city mayor, Baguio City was able to be elevated to the Hall of Fame Award for the cleanest and greenest highly urbanized city after having adjudged the cleanest and greenest highly urbanised city in 1994, 1995 and 19996 and twice awarded as the Gawad Pamana ng Lahi, the highest among all awards, with a cash reward that was used to purchase and import garbage trucks from Japan.
Domogan urged the city’s electorate to scrutinize the private and public lives of those aspiring for various elective positions in the city for them to be able to assess who among them are truly qualified to lead the city in the next three years, saying that he wants the people to give him the chance to put things in order so that he can end his term with flying colors and for the next generation of leaders to have the luxury of leading a well-developed city.