During the 110th Foundation Day celebration of Baguio last Sunday, the event became a mourning of the overdevelopment of the city. 

The officials feel sorry about the status of the city now as high-rise buildings have been prospering and trees are decreasing, so they promise to control the tree cutting in the city from now on. 

“This is no longer the Baguio we used to know,” said Rep. Marquez Go in his speech. 

He added that the city looks like the epitome of how Filipinos have badly overuse the country’s natural resources. 

In the early 20th century, American colonial government made the Baguio as the summer capital, and the city then covers the 80% of the country’s national forest. However, by 1999, its forests only cover 18% of the country, Go added. 

This matter echoed by Sen. Panfilo Lacson and stated that Baguio mountains are now balding. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources points out the construction and the rapid development of the urban — resulting in the decline of the city’s pine trees. 

Go filed the House Bill 1340 as a response to climate change and its primary role to shape to the natural ecosystems, the human economies, and cultures that depend on them. The bill would require parents to plant two trees for every child born to them. 

Baguio’s BRAVE 

Lacson, who was a guest the Baguio Day program, said the passing of the measure of Go may obtain up to P300 million for the rehabilitation of the decaying urban on top of the 150 million, which was Baguio’s share from the internal revenue allotments (IRA) — called it a budget reform advocacy for village empowerment (BRAVE). 

It is a measure that seeks to dispense augmentation funds for provinces, cities and villages, and towns that draw their 20% IRA shares for development projects. 

All local governments are qualified to a share of the IRA or taxes collected by the government. 

Lacson said he was no stranger to Baguio as he has lived for four years in the city as a cadet of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), so he knows the feeling of the residents regarding their city’s population and pollution during daytime. 

The city’s tourism 

Lacson also cited the significant changes of Baguio due to its tourism development. Tourists would stay for holidays and during weekends, and then leave their waste in the city. 

Baguio had 1.5 million visitors in 2017 and 1.8 million last year. 

He said that while the tourism boosts its economy, the picturesque Baguio city is being wiped out as pine trees die by the day. 

“You need to regain and nurture your home,” Lacson said.

Go promised to regain the beauty of the city by organizing several technical working groups to address the Baguio’s decreased tree population of 2.5 million and the human activities of the 350,000 residents that affect the environment. 

“Development is inevitable. We build more roads, expand sewers, improve communication, but all these activities have environmental consequences.”

“We are beyond the original design of Burnham … We generate more waste, spend more water, more electricity and use more fossil fuel,” Go said, citing today’s situation of Baguio.


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