DOT (Department of Tourism) starts the rehab in City of Pines' Baguio City

Baguio City, January 10, 2020 – The Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat arrived at Baguio City on January 10, 2020 to oversee the developments in the City of Pines’ long-planned rehabilitation.

Sec. Puyat stated: “Serious concerns have been raised over the City’s seemingly unabated urban development and overtourism, leading to big city problems like traffic, overcrowding, water shortages, and growing pollution. But there is hope on the horizon. Just like our previous collective efforts have demonstrated, rehabilitation is possible when done properly and when everyone is convinced of the merits of sustainable tourism development. The current thrust of the DOT is to encourage everyone to #SaveOurSpots, instilling the culture of responsible tourism and greater concern for our environment.”

One of the main issues to be addressed is determining the carrying capacity of the City. This means establishing the ideal number of visitors that can be accommodated without harming or affecting the environment, while meeting the expectations of the visitors and respecting the needs and preserving the culture of the locals. Currently, Baguio City has an estimated 370,000 population, and nearly 800 thousand tourist arrivals were recorded from the months of January to September 2019 alone.

Together with its investment arm, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), the DOT will be commencing the rehabilitation of Burnham Park with an earmarked budget of PHP 480 million. Based on the signed Memorandum of Agreement, the budget will be allocated to the landscaping, lighting, and electrical works; hardscape and softscape; construction of view deck and boat docking; installation of terrace planters; view deck renovation; and plant box improvement for the Burnham Lake. It will also be invested in the landscaping, lighting, and electrical works; hardscape and softscape; gazebo and restroom construction; and installation of play equipment for the children’s playground.

According to the Tourism Chief, the City of Pines’ rehabilitation will also entail the improvement of premiere tourist spots, revival and preservation of its ecological health, proper land use and zoning, building of a sewerage treatment plant, enhancement of street lights and pedestrian areas, construction of efficient road networks, and modernizing of transportation. All of these are geared towards highlighting and preserving the vivid culture and distinct artistry of the Cordilleras.