Baguio opens investment areas to boost local economy

Baguio City Budget Officer Leticia Clemente (Screengrab from 'Ugnayan' program live video)

BAGUIO CITY – The city government has come up with a list of projects to attract investments aimed at generating revenues to boost the local economy and sustain the continuing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) response.

“We have a list of several priority areas of investment that signals the start of a new day, a new Baguio for all investors,” lawyer Leticia Clemente, City Budget Officer, said during the weekly "Ugnayan" program of the City Public Information Office on Wednesday afternoon.

She said the projects will be pursued either solely by the city government or through a public-private partnership agreement.

Included in the list of projects are the solid and liquid waste programs, sewer treatment plant rehabilitation, the modern abattoir along Marcos Highway, the cultural center complex and the Baguio Convention Center, city market development, Irisan eco-park, and the city’s public cemetery.

She said the waste to energy project which had been in the pipeline for several years was also included to address the problem of solid waste management, which has been draining the city’s coffers due to the funds being spent for the hauling and tipping fee to a private facility in Central Luzon.

Clemente said that while the city faces a “carrying capacity” issue, the local government included the development of Wright Park with the other parks to cope with the trend for more tourist-friendly open areas.

She added that the Asin Hydro Power Plant is also open to investors as the city does not have the technical expertise to properly handle and reap gains from the property.

Mass housing projects are also up for investment with the city seeing the urgency to act on the growing need for it.

The Burnham Park rehabilitation plan, originally scheduled to commence in 2020 but was stalled due to the pandemic, is also included in the list of programs and possible areas of investment.

Also open to investors are several idle lands located in the central business district which are registered and owned by the city government.

The Department of Agriculture-managed Maharlika Livelihood Center at Lower Session Road will be also included in the list upon its turnover to the city government.

Patapos na ang contract at ite-turn-over na sa atin ito ng DA (the contract is about to end and it will be turned over to us by the DA),” she said.

Clemente said the city has to manage its available funds properly and ensure that it would be able to pay for the amortization once it decides to avail of a loan to fund a project.

The city’s several projects were put on hold when the pandemic started as funds to finance them were diverted to Covid-19 response.

Clemente said the city government is spending not lower than PHP300 million to address the Covid-19 problem.

While noting health is an important investment, she added that development plans can be pursued without necessarily draining the city’s funds. (PNA)

Source: Business Diary Philippines

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