"The rehabilitation of Baguio City has been long overdue."
The rehabilitation of Manila Bay by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is most definitely a good move, but whether or not Secretary Roy Cimatu is up to it is another question altogether.
Manila Bay, famous for its sunset, it more than a cesspool-—how President Rodrigo Duterte described Boracay before its 60-day closure and rehabilitation.
Santa Banana, Manila Bay has become one septic tank! It stinks!
Just how the DENR will rehabilitate it is the big question. I ask this because the rehabilitation of Boracay and other resorts in Palawan and Mindoro have always been a joint effort not only of the DENR but the Department of Tourism (because the world-famous sunset is a tourist attraction) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (because it spans so many LGUs).
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To my mind, though, a bigger, more daunting task is the rehabilitation of Baguio City—the summer capital of the Philippines.
It would be challenging because it would not be just a simple cleanup. It would also be about making the city accommodate the more-than-one-million visitors during peak seasons.
Over the Christmas holidays I decided not to go to Baguio when I learned that it would take me nine to 10 hours to reach the place—at Edsa-like traffic at that.
A cousin told me that upon checking in at their hotel, all they could do was stay in because of the nightmarish traffic. This is why I only stay at Camp John Hay when I am there.
So what other new things can be experienced in Baguio City? Even the smell of the pine trees is gone.
In dire need of rehabilitation is Burnham Park. There used to be a time when visitors could loiter around it and paddle boats. Mines View Park is another place. It has become an obstacle course of shops, food stalls and ambulant vendors. Meanwhile, Wright Park used to be a place where tourists can ride horses.
Baguio is a dying city. So many establishments are built without any real planning at all. Even well-known hotels and restaurants have no parking spaces.
When I was still in grade school, Baguio City was in its prime. Our family always visited the city in the summer. I saw the tourist attractions in their glory.
I am saddened at what Baguio City proper has become due to neglect and indifference.
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Good thing there is that development of Alphaland, Baguio Mountain Lodges. Residents call it the “Forbes Park of Baguio City.”
I must congratulate Alphaland chairman and CEO Bobby Ongpin for the development. The project is surrounded by an eight-foot perimeter fence; there are security guards to ensue safety.
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During the first year of the Duterte administration, the Finance Department had plans of privatizing some 47 casinos of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Pagcor chairman Andrea Domingo agreed that being a gaming regulator, Pagcor, a state agency, should not be in the gaming and casino business. That’s a clear conflict of interest.
The plan, however, has remained just that. I wonder why.