National government officials have assured that Baguio City will remain open for tourism even as rehabilitation works are being done.

“We will not close Baguio, how can you close it?” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said during the press conference as part of the city’s development update briefing.

Romulo-Puyat, who came with Interior Secretary Eduardo Año for the briefing, gave assurance that her department will support the rehabilitation program.

The rehabilitation will include the development and improvement of Burnham Park, the city market, Mines View Park, the city’s sewage treatment plant (STP) and former dumpsite at Barangay Irisan which was converted to an Environment Recycling System (ERS) following its closure in 2012.

“Rehabilitation of areas and destinations in the country is part of the agenda of the administration of President Duterte.”

In her opening statement, the tourism chief said the rehabilitation of areas and destinations in the country is part of the agenda of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“To instill the culture of responsible tourism and attain sustainable tourism,” the tourism head stressed.

She said rehabilitation started in Boracay followed by Coron and El Nido in Palawan, Bohol and now its Baguio’s turn.

“Rehab is possible if a local government unit is very cooperative and this is evident in Baguio.”

“Rehab is possible if a local government unit is very cooperative and this is evident in Baguio…This is just the beginning. We can capture the former glory of Baguio,” Romulo-Puyat said.

Meanwhile, Año said Baguio is different from Boracay, which the people have forgotten to take care of.

Baguio is the city that is taking the lead in its rehabilitation, the cabinet official added.

“We are here to determine how the national government will help in the rehabilitation,” he said.

The briefing included the land-use plan of Baguio by a representative of the city planning office, the carrying capacity study of Baguio by Economic and Development Agency regional director Milagros Rimando and the city’s redevelopment plan.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong detailed the development plan that will be done in Baguio starting off with Burnham Park which got a P480 million funding from the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA).

The plan includes a P600 million modern sidewalk project in the city, which has so far recieved P50 million from the DPWH.

The rehabilitation work includes environmental activities, traffic and transport programs, water supply and tourism destinations.

The rehabilitation plan will extend over three years.

Romulo-Puyat and Año, together with Environment Assistant Secretary Jesus Enrique Moises Salazar representing Secretary Roy Cimatu, were accompanied by city officials in visiting Burnham Park, the ERS at Irisan, the sewage treatment plant, and Mines View Park for an ocular inspection.

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