The resource persons during the Delphi activity which was conducted during the FGD for Estimating the Urban Carrying Capacity of Baguio City. (From left to right:  Engr Mark de Guzman, Engr. Joselito Buhangin, Councilor Mylen Yaranon, Dr. Gladys Navarro, Mr. Vicente Ballaran, Dr. Julie Cabato, and Arch. Donna Tabangin.

 

Participants of the focus group discussion (FGD) conducted by the Certeza Infosys Corp. agreed that that Baguio City has come a long way from the tranquil, green,  and clean city that it was fifty years ago.

The activity that was held on July 31 is part of the project “Estimating the Urban Carrying Capacity of Baguio City” funded by and in coordination with NEDA-CAR.  Its primary objective is to validate the benchmarks and standards for identified urban carrying capacity indicators in the following areas:  Ecology and Environment, Urban Facilities and Services, Infrastructure and Transport, and Public Perception.

The FGD was participated by representatives of the local government of Baguio headed by Councilor Mylen Yaranon who also chairs the Sangguniang Panlungsod Infrastructure Committee.  She was joined by technical staff from the City Engineer’s Office, City Planning Office, and the City Environmental and Parks Management Office. Also represented were the following regional line agencies: DPWH, HUDCC, HLURB, DENR, EMB, MGB, DTI, DOT and NEDA.  From the private sector were representatives of the Baguio Water District, Baguio Regreening Movement, Shontoug Foundation represented by RDC-PSR Dr. Julie Cabato, and the Baguio chapter of the United Architects of the Philippines and the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers.  Faculty members and some students of the Saint Louis University were also present.

During the FGD, the list of urban carrying capacity (UCC) indicators and benchmarks which were provided to the participants days before the activity, were presented and discussed. The state of Baguio City was also presented through a situationer and a series of snapshots that showed how the City’s land use cover changed from the 1950s to the present. Dr. Julie Cabato and Councilor Yaranon also shared their memories of what Baguio was in their youth, how things have changed, and what can and should be done to prevent it from deteriorating even further.

While the participants agreed on the standards of some indicators, they also pointed out that it is time the City comes up with its own standards that are more appropriate to the city’s economic, social and geophysical situation, and to what the people of Baguio want for their City. Everybody expressed hope that through the project and with the support of all those concerned, the negative impacts of the city’s rapid urbanization will be properly addressed.

One of the two studies presently implemented by NEDA-CAR under the NEDA’s Research and Development Program, the study aims to formulate a framework and set of measurable indicators for assessing the urban carrying capacity of Baguio City in terms of its environmental and ecological context, urban facilities, and public perception.  It also seeks to identify appropriate policies and directions for the sustainable development of Baguio City considering its limits to growth.

Heading the team of expert consultants for the study is Dr. Candido Cabrido Jr. (Urban Planning).     He is joined by the following: Arch. Donna Tabangin (Ecology and Environment), Engr. Joselito Buhangin (Infrastructure), Engr. Mark de Guzman (Transportation Planning), Dr. Gladys Navarro (Economic Forecasting), Mr. Vicente Ballaran (GIS), and Dr. Cora Jose (Demography).

The study is expected to be completed before the year ends. xxx