BAGUIO CITY – NEDA continues its support for the Cordillera region by funding the “Formulation of the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) Infrastructure Master Plan”. NEDA, through its Project Development and Other Related Studies (PDRS) fund, called for the project in recognition of the increasing urbanization of the BLISTT as one of the identified primary growth centers of the region.

According to NEDA, the masterplan will serve as a guide for decision-makers in identifying infrastructure projects to promote the BLISTT area’s economic competitiveness, disaster preparedness, and the peoples’ quality of life. The consultants selected for the year-long project met with NEDA-CAR to discuss their work plan on February 28, 2019. The project is expected to be finished in February 2020.

The formulation of a comprehensive infrastructure masterplan stems from the need to provide adequate infrastructure services to the people of BLISTT in response to increasing urban congestion and the risks posed by climate change to disaster-mitigation and food-security. The project is a direct follow through to the Baguio City Urban Carrying Capacity Study which is due to be completed in September 2019.

Covered in the masterplan are the identification of key development issues in the BLISTT area, its physical, demographic and economic attributes, and gaps in infrastructure development. Also included in the broad scope of the project is the formulation of an overall framework for policy-makers, an action plan for financing and implementation, a list of priority projects and programs that are specific to BLISTT, and a communication plan for coordination.

The consultancy team aims to utilize the data from various sources such as the Regional Development Plan 2017-2022, the on-going NEDA-funded study on the Urban Carrying Capacity of Baguio City, and the Comprehensive Land Use plans of component cities and municipalities of Baguio City-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) Growth Center, among others. They will be based in Baguio and also plans to conduct site visits to various areas in the BLISTT area.

One of the consultants, Alex Brillantes, agrees with NEDA-CAR that the BLISTT is not a metro arrangement focused on Baguio but an “inter-local cooperation” that sees each LGU as equal as opposed to other urban setups such as Metro Davao or Metro Cebu where a single LGU dominates economic activity. BLISTT is the most robust economic growth center in the region. It is one of the two primary growth nodes in the Cordillera region along with the TRiPT (Tabuk, Rizal, Pinukpuk, Tanudan) in Eastern Kalinga.