BAGUIO CITY – Amidst the social and economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Mayors of the BLISTT set the foundations for the rehabilitation and continuing development of the Cordillera’s southern growth node. The Mayors had an emergency meeting on March 18 to address immediate concerns regarding the proper implementation of the enhanced community quarantine as well as prepare for a recovery and rehabilitation plan.

Baguio City Mayor and BLISTT Council Chair Benjamin Magalong committed to represent the BLISTT in future discussion of rehabilitation and resiliency plans with investors. He shared that the Department of Tourism and private investors are negotiating with the City of Baguio for rehabilitation and development efforts. Given the City’s limited space and the need for development in the adjacent municipalities, Magalong said he will champion BLISTT in rehabilitation efforts.

Itogon Mayor and BLISTT Vice-Chair Victorio Palangdan stressed the importance of a comprehensive BLISTT development plan that will consolidate the local government units’ development strategies and ensure complementation of land use plans. NEDA-CAR, as secretariat of the BLISTT, will start preparing for an integrated development framework and investment program for the BLISTT. NEDA-CAR will also consider in the formulation of a development plan the recommendations of ongoing studies such as the BLISTT Sustainable Urban Infrastructure Development (SUID) Master Plan and the recently concluded Baguio City Urban Carrying Capacity.

Moreover, the NEDA Central Office has issued a memorandum for regional offices to address economic concerns amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. As vice-chair of the Rehabilitation and Recovery Committee of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC), NEDA-CAR will coordinate with the Office of Civil Defense and the RDRRMC to address economic and development concerns in the region such as supply allocation, price control, business continuity plans, and social welfare benefits among others.