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View from the sidelines:
Barangays share their vision for Baguio
by Ignacio Gallente

URBAN GARDENS — Encouraging more barangays to fully support the green and clean program of the city government through urban gardening and roadside beautification is one of the best practices commonly being practiced by dozens of barangays in Baguio. -- Ignacio Gallente

 
A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done.” – Ralph Lauren

Vision in layman’s term means what you want to be. And by this accepted definition, barangay vision means what local officials want their barangays to be. It is not necessary to pinpoint when and how, but the realization of a vision depends on the mission associated with it. Mission as differentiated from vision, means what the barangay officials do to achieve their goals or vision.

The 128 barangays in Baguio have set their own vision. There maybe dozens of them sharing the same vision, but undeniably, all of them are one in the quest to bring peace and development for the benefit of their constituents and the city we all love.

As one of the 128 punong barangays in this mountain resort, I could honestly say that all barangay officials strictly comply with the mandates of Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991, to serve our constituents squarely and faithfully by coming up with visions and missions that are doable, achievable, and its positive results will have trickle-down effects to people from all walks of life.

Aside from being accountable for our actions and decisions, we legislate local laws in a bid to improve and complement the efforts of the city and national government in making government service closer to the people we ought to serve. We do not have the luxury of denying the call to duty in helping local and national officials in their efforts to clean the bureaucracy from the ills of graft and corruption and drug addictions, among other social concerns.

As Baguio marks another chapter as it celebrates its 107th charter anniversary, barangay leaders manifest their support to the present thrust of our new set of leaders.

As in the past, barangay officials are committed and supportive of the government’s all-out campaign against illegal drugs through peaceful means, without violating the rights of others. Nevertheless, the ongoing campaign against the drug menace is supported by many sectors of society while our government is getting international attention for its tough fight against prohibited drugs, the people running the illegal trade and their protectors.

In the local scene, barangay officials of Baguio share the common view that guiding each family in our respective community to live in harmony and peace is a good ground in establishing a peaceful city, as the family is the basic unit of society.

Common sense dictates that no barangay official would allow or tolerate any of his constituents to be involved in the illegal drug trade and disturb the peace of the community. Instead, many of these barangay officials in the city are doing their best to save constituents from the evils of illegal drugs and improve the status of their barangays economically, socially, and politically.

All these efforts complement the city government’s vision of making Baguio a better place to live in and do business with. Simply put, the city government will have a hard time achieving its mission and vision without the barangays sharing its dreams and ideals towards a better Baguio.

The harmonious working relations between the barangays and the city government could be further strengthened if the city helps in establishing barangay-based institutions that promote good governance and accountability.

With the forthcoming Baguio Day and Barangay Day celebrations on Sept. 1 and Oct. 10, respectively, the 128 barangays in the city are expected to participate actively to be able to come up with a shared mission and vision towards a better city.

Modesty aside, one of the visions of Barangay Middle Quirino Hill, which I humbly serve, which we want to share with others, is our “Baguio City – More Tourists – Best Service” program. We can have this vision realized if we come up with new tourist attractions to augment existing tourists spots in the city and adjacent municipalities. Through community efforts, Middle Quirino Hill barangay patiently and slowly built a view deck, where one can have a glimpse of the panorama of the central business district and 70 other barangays of Baguio.

HIGHEST VIEWDECK — The ongoing improvement of the view deck project overlooking Baguio from Middle Quirino Hill will improve tourism and create alternative livelihood to residents in the area once completed. -- Ignacio Gallente

 
The establishment of a view deck, which is 3.3 kilometers away from the heart of Baguio, is fast becoming a tourism come-on and it could be a best location for telenovela like the short-lived “La Presa.” To those who want to feel the breeze of the fog and cool wind blowing in all directions, Middle Quirino Hill View Deck is the right place to go.

To share our humble beginnings, local officials planned and visualized the view deck project more than 10 years ago. Although unfinished, it is attracting hundreds of enthusiasts from near and far, sharing their money with us. Once completed, the site could be a potential business area that would bring additional revenue to our constituents.

Many barangays in Baguio have the potential of putting up tourist attractions, not necessarily view decks, but anything that is beautiful and attractive, which local officials at Mines View and tourist-oriented barangays are currently doing.

For a century now, Baguio is known for its famous landmarks such as Burnham Park, Mines View Park, Imelda Park, The Cathedral, Diplomat Hotel, the Philippine Military Academy, Camp John Hay, and the Lourdes Grotto.

Through the years, however, tourism stakeholders such as the Department of Tourism-Cordillera, Baguio Tourism Council, Baguio Conventions and Visitors Bureau, and the Hotels and Restaurants Association of Baguio realized the need to reposition or further improve the tourism industry of the city to make it even more competitive like the other tourism destinations in the country today.

In a tourism summit held several years ago, stakeholders saw the need to upgrade infrastructure and standards and quality of services to be at par with other world-class tourist destinations.

The crucial role of the barangays in tourism promotion is not to be outdone, reason why Baguio Mayor Mauricio Domogan signed Administrative Order 99 in 2010 creating the “Barangay Tourism Council” or BTC in accordance to Sec. 387 of the Local Government Code, which states that “the sangguniang barangay may form community brigades and create other positions or offices as may be deemed necessary.”

The creation of BTC proves the city’s cognizance of the enormous role of barangays as constant partners of the city government in achieving its vision and mission.

Among the functions of the BTC as stated in AO 99, s. 2010 is to provide assistance to tourist-oriented enterprises within their territorial jurisdiction and to provide tourism information/help desk in their respective area.

We also share the common view that our city public market, which is also one of the windows of tourism in Baguio, needs more improvement to be also at par with market facilities in other tourism destinations in the country. At present, domestic and foreign visitors are dismayed with the current state of the city public market whose roofs leak, while many of its corners are not well-lit and not as tidy as the public markets of the cities of Laoag, Ilocos Norte; Urdaneta, Pangasinan; San Fernando, La Union; and Candon, Ilocos Sur in nearby Region 1.

By way of contributing to the growth of the tourism sector of Baguio, efforts are now geared towards a more exciting celebration of the Barangay Day in October, a month after Baguio marks its 107th charter anniversary.

As agreed upon, the Barangay Day 2016 celebrations shall be shifting from searches to giving emphasis on street parade, product display, and photography contests.

We are thankful to the city government for providing P500,000 to ensure the success of the lined-up activities such as the street parade per district, display of booths, and photo contest. The city also funded the palarong pambarangay with P400,000.

These activities are meant to promote tourism in our city while we give incentives to barangays and individuals who are active and supportive of the vision and mission of our city.

With more support and encouragement from the city government, there is no doubt that the 128 barangays will continue to introduce projects, programs, and innovations that are local but with huge impact to the residents and the city we all love.
Other news
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:: Tax reform key to sustaining Baguio’s improved services
:: Bringing back the scent, charm of the old Baguio
:: The legacy of Mauricio G. Domogan: From Barefoot Child to Father of Baguio
:: Hurdling garbage woes as attainable goal for Baguio
:: REV–BLOOM: Redefining a tourism story of RP’s Summer Capital
:: The daunting task of providing decent shelter in a bustling city
:: The Duterte peace & order agenda: The road to achieving ‘crime–free’ Baguio
:: Rebuilding Baguio communities through urban agriculture
:: Revisiting Baguio’s traffic and transportation system for the future

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