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DENR not keen on closing Baguio for rehab like Boracay

IN DEFENSE OF BAGUIO. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu tells media in a press conference on Wednesday (Oct. 17, 2018) the environmental issues being faced by Baguio. He added that the local government can address such problems without the need to close the city like what was done in Boracay. (Photo by Liza T. Agoot)

BAGUIO CITY— The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is not keen on closing Baguio to tourists to give way to a rehabilitation similar to what it did on Boracay island.

DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu, in a press conference during his visit on Wednesday, said “Baguio is still Baguio, pupuntahan pa rin kayo ng mga tao (people will still go to you),” he told members of the media.

He said that the department could help address some environmental issues being faced by the city.

“We will gladly be with you in giving support in terms of technical and advises based on experiences para naman ma-save the very purpose of Baguio (so that we can save the very purpose of Baguio),” Cimatu said adding that possible rehabilitation will take time.

He mentioned that if there will be moves in the future, they are willing to give support but said that rehabilitation will take time.

The Secretary cited some of the problems he saw but said the local government unit could address them.

“Pag akyat mo sa Baguio, kita mo na talaga maraming buildings na nakalagay sa no build zone, maraming areas na hindi masyado ang sewerage system, yung inyo yatang basura dinadala pa sa Tarlac, so these are the things na pwedeng maayos (going up Baguio, you can see buildings built on no build zones, there are many areas which have poor sewerage system, I think your garbage is still being haules to Tarlac),” Cimatu said.

He however said that such can be addressed while tourists continue to visit the place.

It can be recalled that following the closure of Boracay island from tourists, speculation cropped up that the city would be the next tourist destination that will be closed for rehabilitation.

Earlier, Mayor Mauricio Domogan had repeatedly said that the issues of a final garbage disposal facility is being addressed by the city government.

The city government has signed a Usufruct agreement over a big parcel of land owned by the Benguet Corporation within the closed mining facility in its former open pit mining area, for the city’s multi-purpose waste facility. This facility when completed will be share with the BLISTT (Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay) towns, which are adjacent to the country’s mountain resort city.

The mayor also cited various ordinances, programs and initiatives that address air pollution and sewerage. in the city.(Liza Agoot/PNA)

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