Magalong: We will arrest Baguio’s urban decay

BAGUIO CITY – Reeleted Mayor Benjamin Magalong has vowed to focus his second term in office on preventing “urban decay” from further eating up the country’s summer capital.

A 2019 National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) study showed the city was going towards urban decay, which it said has to be addressed with viable solutions and the help of the community.

Urban refers to a process in which “a previously functioning city, or city area, falls into disrepair and disuse whose common indications are abandoned buildings and empty plots, high unemployment levels, high crime rates, and an urban landscape that is generally decrepit and desolate.”

Magalong, whose first term began on June 30, 2019, said his first term was used “to plan and come up with well-thought and strategic solutions for problems like urban decay that include the implementation of 31 priority projects,” 12 of which are deemed “catalytic.”

“The projects will have a significant impact on the environment and provide barangay officials and residents whatever resources they need to plan out and create livable communities,” he said.

The mayor explained that barangays will be tasked to plan out their roads, pathways, drainage and sanitation systems, and open spaces for parks and recreational facilities in their respective communities.

An earlier list provided by the city information office showed the 31 projects referred to by the mayor include: Market development; inter-modal transport terminal which is one of the catalytic projects to address traffic, high carbon emission, and mobility concerns; slaughterhouse modernization with a cold storage facility of the triple-A standard; multi-level parking and commercial building at the Baguio Fire Station site to fix parking problem at City Hall; satellite markets; underground parking at the athletic complex; and construction of super health centers to make them fitted for PhilHealth accreditation.

The City Information Office said there will also be projects that will promote health and wellness like the continuation of parks development, barangay hall projects, youth convergence, indoor sports complex, athletes’ quarters, tennis court rehabilitation, and a 24-kilometer sidewalk rehabilitation project.

The city government will likewise pursue road recovery and road widening projects, improvement of the traffic control management, and smart mobility transportation system.

Magalong said water scarcity, which was among the issues raised in the 2019 urban decay study, will also be addressed with the recycling system that is part of a bulk water project with a target of 10 million liters a day.

Likewise included in the list are the waste-to-energy project, phases 2 and 3 of the city’s eco-park at the former open dumpsite, digital transformation center project, and improved internet capacity from100mbps to 1-4 gigabytes.

Mayor Magalong said the plans will be pursued starting in the remaining weeks of his first term and onwards to his next three years in office.