BAGUIO CITY – The city government earmarked around P40 million in its executive budget next year for the immediate repair and rehabilitation of the city-owned Baguio Convention Center in order to improve the state of the city’s premier convention facility.
Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said the funds will be taken from the local development fund and it will be used to initially repair the dilapidated portions of the convention center and change its traditional lighting system to the so-called Light Emitting Diode (LED) in order to save on the use of power.
“We have to introduce improvements in our premier convention facility so that we will be able to attract more organizations to do their gatherings in the city in the future. We have to do with our limited resources just to start with the needed repair,” Domogan stressed.
Aside from improving the facility’s sewerage and lighting systems, the local chief executive added part of the works to be undertaken include the repair of the leaking roofings.
The local government was able to acquire the Baguio Convention Center from the government Service Insurance System (GSIS) through the city’s accumulated share from the lease of the 247-hectare John Hay Special Economic Zone (JHSEZ) held by the State-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) in the amount of P250 million only in 2012.
The city government, through the BCDA, initially paid p50 million for the acquisition of the convention center from the GSIS in 2004 but the previous administrations failed to do their part by settling the city’s obligations that subsequently ballooned until it was able to settle the over P316 million cost of the facility including accumulated interests.
The city mayor underscored the city government needs to sustain the improvements in the convention center so that it will be able to continue hosting the conduct of local, regional, national and even international gatherings contributory to improving the local tourism industry since the city is still one of the preferred tourist destinations in the country.
According to him, the city government will continue to look for additional funds from whatever available local sources so that there will be substantial improvements in the convention facility for it to accommodate bigger gatherings in the future.
The Baguio Convention Center was built through the initiative of former First Lady and Minister of Human Settlements and now Ilocos Norte 2nd district Rep. Imelda Romualdez Marcos to serve as the avenue for the world chess championship match between Russians Gary Kasparov and Victor Korchnoi.
He cited the city will embark on a sustainable development of the facility so that its use would be maximized in order to be self-liquidating.
By Dexter A. See