This is to clarify a news article published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on February 18, 2019, entitled “Baguio City groans from too many visitors”. In the said article, Baguio’s water supply, roads, and urban facilities were described as “..woefully inadequate for its daytime population, especially when hordes of tourists come to visit..”

The statement was based on initial analyses made and presented by the consultants during a workshop on February 15 here in Baguio City on the NEDA-commissioned study Estimating the Urban Carrying Capacity of Baguio City.

While it appreciates the intent of the article to inform the general public about the results of the study, NEDA-CAR would like to clarify that the data presented during the said consultation are still preliminary and are subject to further validation.

The workshop was called to elicit expert opinion and insights of various stakeholders on the initial findings of the study as contained in the Draft Final Report. In fact, one of the realizations during the said activity was the appropriateness (or inappropriateness) of some of the urban carrying capacity indicators adopted in the study.  The need to revisit some national planning standards on their applicability to current developments and the city’s situation was also brought to the fore.

Once the inputs in the workshop shall have been consolidated and incorporated in the study’s Final Report, a Results Dissemination Forum shall be conducted in which the general stakeholders and the media may be invited.

As a backgrounder, NEDA commissioned the study “Estimating the Urban Carrying Capacity of Baguio City” under its R&D fund to recommend long-term strategic policy directions.

The study simply compares the current status of the city’s urban ecology and environment, urban infrastructure facilities and services, and public perception against standard urban carrying capacity indicators.   Urban carrying capacity refers to the maximum level of human activities, population growth, land use and physical development that can be sustained by an urban environment without causing serious degradation and irreversible damage.

Knowing the city’s urban carrying capacity will help planners and decision-makers formulate more responsive plans, policies and priority programs and projects. For instance, the recommendations of the study can be the basis for new city ordinances.  On the other hand, the NEDA will use the results as reference for planning standards and in evaluating development proposals that will be located within or adjacent to the City of Baguio.   Results of the study will also become critical inputs to another study commissioned by NEDA, “Masterplanning the Sustainable Urban Infrastructure for the BLISTT.