The Development Council of the Baguio City-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) growth area in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) endorsed the Sustainable Urban Infrastructure Development (SUID) Master Plan to the Regional Development Council (RDC) in CAR during its meeting on June 15. Said Plan will guide decision-makers in the preparation and approval of plans, policies, programs and projects for implementation in BLISTT area.
The endorsement comes with the condition to revise the recommended priority projects, particularly the integrated terminal exchange and the alternative multi-modal transport system.
Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong who is also BLISTT Council Chair, recommended the alignment of the Master Plan with Baguio City’s current development projects, as well as their locations and design. He added that the City has ongoing projects in their initial stages, including the waste-to-energy project in Sablan, the integrated terminal exchange with multi-level parking, and alternative transport systems. While these initiatives form part of a bigger development program linked to the City’s bid as the first Smart City in the country, it is also envisioned to benefit the rest of BLISTT.
Meanwhile, Mayor Victorio Palangdan of Itogon affirmed the proposed sanitary landfill in Itogon since the Department of Natural Resources and Environment has lifted the prohibition and the fund is still available. However, he added that this should take into consideration the BLISTT waste-to-energy project.
On other project proposals, Mayor Romeo Salda of La Trinidad said that they have yet to identify private lots for the sub-component of the integrated terminal exchange in the area. Meanwhile, Atty. George Fukai of Tuba Benguet said that possible locations for the University Community are available but they have to work out the reclassification of these lots to alienable and disposable lands. In addition, Mayor Armando Lauro of Tublay claimed that 20 hectares is available for the establishment of an agro-industrial economic zone in Tublay.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) funded the preparation of the BLISTT SUID Master Plan through consulting services which commenced in 2019.
In the same meeting, the mayors expressed anew their full support to House Bill 9215 that seeks to create the BLISTT Development Authority. Baguio Congressman Mark Go, co-author of the bill, said that this will help institutionalize the current initiatives and the governing structure of the BLISTT Council.
Moreover, the Council approved the activity design on the updating of the BLISTT Action Agenda 2017-2019 presented by Regional Director (RD) Susan Sumbeling of the NEDA Regional Office (NRO) in CAR. The RD said this will commence in July with an assessment considering the new normal. A series of workshops are scheduled thereafter, and the adoption of the Updated BLISTT Action Agenda is set for December 2021.
The BLISTT is one of the primary growth centers in the Cordillera organized as inter-local cooperation in 2014. It has a Governing Council comprised of the mayors serving as the final decision and policy making body, and the Development Council as the program implementation and legislation arm. The NRO serves as Council Secretariat.