Bigger, better, authentic Panagbenga 2011 promised

BAGUIO CITY – A bigger, better and more authentic Panagbenga shall be seen this February with the concerted efforts and cooperation of all those involved, from the academic and business sectors, private and government sector and the community as a whole.

This was promised by panelists during the Panagbenga press conference at the Panagbenga park last Wednesday; with the Baguio Flower Festival Incorporated (BFFI) Executive Committee members present including Mayor Mauricio Domogan, Department of Tourism Regional Director Pura Molintas, Hotelier Anthony de Leon, Businessman Moises Cating, Urban planner Joseph Alabanza, Camp John Hay Chief Operations Officer Freddie Alquiroz, Father of Panagbenga Atty. Damaso Bangaoet, HOLCIM cement Philippines executive David and Police Chief David Lacdan.

It shall also be the cleanest and greenest, with efforts as to the theme, “The Environment and Community in Harmony,” the panelists collectively agreed.

As announced by the mayor, the Panagbenga Park along Camp John Hay gate shall be the starting point of all Baguio Flower Festival activities. It shall also be blessed and inaugurated an hour earlier than the opening and elimination parade on February 1. The park, in the first phase of development is being prepared with a butterfly sanctuary, coffee hut and other amenities. The second phase of development comes later, it was known.      
Environment-saving efforts are also first in the flower festival agenda, so tree seedlings shall be distributed among the BFFI board of trustees, and later to barangay officials for planting on available spaces.

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BFF 2011 BLISTT-friendly - mayor

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan is looking forward to a Baguio Flower Festival synchronized with activities in neighboring areas including La Trinidad, this coming February.

The mayor made the pronouncement during the Panagbenga press conference last Wednesday at the Panagbenga Park along Camp John Hay gate, saying that good neighbors supplement and complement each other.

Tourists could always arrange a visit to the valley which produces most of the blooms used in the flower festival as admitted during the press conference, the mayor said. Some of the products of neighboring towns, as with the earlier staging of the flower festival, may also be seen during the Market Encounter; and Session road in Bloom.

Accordingly, a Panagbenga marathon is being considered from Baguio City to La Trinidad or vice-versa, which the mayor said may include the municipality of Tublay. This would strengthen the BLISTT (Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay) concept, which has long been considered and consistently pushed by the city’s top executive.

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Dad seeks greater NGO participation in budget deliberations

BAGUIO CITY – “All non-government organizations (NGO) and people’s organizations ( PO ) should participate in budget deliberations to ensure the city budget is responsive to the needs of the majority.”

Thus said alderman Edison Bilog in his proposed measure “Institutionalizing the Active Participation of NGOs and Pos in Budget Deliberations.”

He said the ordinance will address “endless allegations of corruption, fraud and mismanagement… and [demand] for greater transparency and accountability in the budget process.”

To qualify, NGOs and POs must pass through a stringent accreditation process with the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) following the same process as that of accreditation of NGOs and POs to be members of the Local Development Council (LDC).

Once said bodies qualify, they shall be given the right to participate in city budget deliberations and have access to all pertinent documents.

On top of this, they shall likewise be given the right to submit position papers where they can suggest or recommend probable revisions to the annual city budget.

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"AMBASSADOR'S FOR PEACE" - City Mayor Mauricio Domogan inspires children coming from different parts of the globe advocating for world peace and environmental protection during a brief courtesy call last January 5.  photo by Isagani Liporada


New Plates

"NEW PLATES" arrive in the City Treasurer's Office this week ready for release to the thousands of businessmen applying for new and renewal of their business permits with the City Government.  photo by paul rillorta


Canadian surgical team back in another mission here next weekend

Some Baguio boys and girls are coming home for a humanitarian mission next week, bringing in other Filipino expats and Canadians in the medical field, some for the third straight year, for yet another surgical mission at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center.

For nurse Shirley Pinlac Maas, a product of the Baguio City National High School and the BGH School of Nursing, the mission is becoming an annual pilgrimage of sorts since she swung Operation Rainbow Canada to do cleft palate surgery here in 2000.

So with Dr. Norman Peter Blair, a surgeon serving as the  team leader for the third straight year to the annual mission at the BGHMC. He led  the Health for Humanity mission in 2009 and the GO-MED (Greater Outreach-Medical/Educational Destinations), a non-profit health support group he heads, last year.

As in the past two years, the 31-member mission will do surgery for free, particularly thyroidectomy, laparoscopic/open cholecystectomy (gall bladder), all types of hernia repairs, breast biopsy/mastectomy, abdominal/vaginal. hysterectomy, tubal ligation and all other gynecological procedures.

BGHMC chief, Dr. Manuel Factora has advised indigent patients availing of the services to sign up at the out-patient, surgery and gynecology departments before the start of the mission on Jan. 23.

The visiting team, who will be assisted by their local counterparts, will do surgeries from Jan. 24 to 28 and Jan. 31 to Feb. 3.

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Domogan bares timetable for Asin Minihydro Project

BAGUIO CITY – The city government aims to bid out the Asin minihydroelectric plants operation in February, Mayor Mauricio Domogan announced last Wednesday.

The mayor said the draft terms of reference (TOR) for the project which have undergone several revisions have been submitted for finalization in last week’s meeting of the Asin hydro technical working group.

He said he is confident that the TOR will be completed before the end of the month for submission to the city council for approval.

“Hopefully, the city council will approve the TOR immediately so that by February, the city could start sending out notices of invitation for bidding to various interested companies,” the mayor said.

The privatization of the plants’ operations has long been pushed by the city government to restore the viability of the facilities which slackened under its management due to lack of funds and expertise.

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Creation of zoning review committee urged

BAGUIO CITY – The city council Monday urged Mayor Mauricio Domogan to constitute the Local Zoning Review Committee (LZRC) to take charge of determining changes in the Comprehensive Land Use plan (CLUP).

In Resolution No. 005 series of 2011 authored by Councilor Isabelo Cosalan Jr., the body said the creation of said sub-committee as mandated by section 36 of City Ordinance No. 51 series of 2001 or the Revised Comprehensive Zoning Regulations for the City of Baguio is necessary at this time when the CLUP is presently undergoing updating as spearheaded by the City Planning and Development Office.

“The constitution of the LZRC is of utmost importance considering that the city’s CLUP is outdated and had been overtaken by events and developments,” the body noted in the resolution.

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BFF 2011 goes on with student participation – Mayor

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan last week allayed apprehension over reports of participating students’ boycott of Panagbenga 2011 or the Baguio Flower Festival this February. An assurance of participation has also been given by Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Ellen Donato during an earlier meeting, the mayor said.

The reported boycott was said to be due to unpaid cash prizes won by elementary and secondary school student-participants for Panagbenga 2010 which the mayor clarified has already been resolved. He recalled that as congressman during the earlier half of 2010, P1M from his funds has been allocated for the purpose. An additional Half-a-Million Pesos last December has been appropriated from the Special Education Fund (SEF) to fulfill said obligations, the mayor added.

A review of events revealed that prizes for BFF 2010 has not been granted appropriation, and the 2010 city budget has just been approved, thus the delay.

Mayor Domogan also rued the exaggeration for the non-payment may be due to “political” reasons.  
He thus called on the parents and teachers of students to participate in the government-led and community-based festival which opens with a parade on Feb. 1. The efforts of both should redound to a better festival, the mayor said.

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MGD eggs theft victims to file cases even as ‘10 crime rate tapers

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan last week egged victims of petty thieves to file cases even as the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) marked a 33-percent decrease in 2010 theft cases compared to the previous year.

He said it takes more than police visibility and tenacity in apprehending petty criminals to reduce the numbers further, adding “the citizenry should do its part by filing charges against crooks to prevent such cases from recurring.”

Despite decrease, he expressed alarm in the number of cases tallied by BCPO saying it “does not speak well of Baguio being a tourist city.”

BCPO reported 1,200-theft cases in 2010 as compared to the previous year’s 1,792.

He said, “Theft has been ranked second to physical injuries in the tally of index crimes for [two consecutive years already].”

He said, “While I believe memos aren’t needed because BCPO is doing its job… we need our constituents to do their part by filing cases and dismissing lack of concern, reasoning court cases would just take much of their precious time.”

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Baguio City's Environmental Recycling System

Workers load biodegradable waste to the Baguio City's Environmental Recycling System (ERS) that converts it into a first class fertilizer. The ERS machine went into full operation starting January 17.

Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan with Pro-Tech (ERS machine dealer) Philippines Chief Operation Officer Jun Shimizu looking at the biodegradable waste being loaded into the Environmental Recycling System (ERS) machine. The ERS machine converts the biodegradable waste into fertilizer in 2 to 3 hours.



"NO WIN"  but a thank you note for being a good taxpayer greets this early customer of the City Treasurers Office Tuesday after paying her taxes early. She has also availed herself of a 20% discount and a chance to win the major prizes at stake this year. photo by Isagani Liporada


Baguio to lead celebration of the year of the rabbit

Its morale boosted by Malacanang’s plan to include the Chinese New Year as a national holiday, Baguio will open this week its 12th official celebration of what is also known as the Spring Festival,  this time to usher in the Year of the Rabbit.

Spearheaded by the local Filipino-Chinese community, the city’s annual observance opens Friday with a gift-giving at San Carlos heights that fleshes out the rabbit as symbol of peace, good luck and happiness.

Paul Go, president of the Bell Church and chair of the humanitarian outreach, said the city social welfare and development office headed by Betty Fangasan has identified the  recipients of packages containing basic food items and groceries.

This will be followed by the launching of two books written by Baguio boy and expatriate Richard Cheng on Jan. 25 at the Supreme Hotel here.

Richard, younger brother of noted medical doctor, researcher and author Charles Cheng, will be on hand to autograph copies of “Valley of Peace”, a collection of stories and legends on Asian-Chinese wisdom, and “When the Cricket Stops Singing”, a history of the Cheng family in Baguio.

Engr. Marc Janssen Pe, together with city health officer, Dr. Florence Reyes, Fangasan, Karen Padilla of SM City and Dr. Cheng, will lead a medical-dental mission  at the SM City Rotunda on Jan. 27.

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City working out lagoon tunnel clearing project

BAGUIO CITY – The planned dredging of the City Camp lagoon tunnel is now in the works with an initial funding of P25 million.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan said he has been informed by Dept. of Public Works and Highways city district engineer Ireneo Gallato that the Special

Allotment Release Order (SARO) for the amount has already been issued for the project.

The said fund was worked out by Rep. Bernardo Vergara.

However, the mayor said that the project will not be implemented immediately as they are still determining the applicable process that can be employed to prosecute the project considering that it is not a typical infrastructure venture.

He said that as required under Republic Act No. 9184 or the national procurement law, the project has to be bid out but those in charge of the project could not complete the documents required in the bidding as they are encountering difficulties in quantifying the scope of work and target accomplishments due to the physical condition of the site.

The mayor said they are considering the implementation of the project by administration instead of the regular bid out process so that the project cost to be paid will be commensurate to the amount of work to be accomplished.

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Dads okay additional fund for Mines View Satellite Market

BAGUIO CITY – The city council last Monday approved the realignment of a P12 million fund earlier allotted for various disallowed projects for the completion of the on-going satellite market project at Mines View Park.

The body approved Ordinance No. 1 series of 2011 for the purpose.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan requested for the realignment of the said amount to enable the city to finance an additional scope of work to complete the satellite market project.

The P12 million was earmarked for various projects in 2009 but said projects were not implemented after these were disallowed by the Dept. of Budget and Management-Cordillera (DBM-CAR).

The Local Finance Committee certified that the amount from the 2009 Development Fund  remained as a continuing appropriation eligible for realignment for the satellite market project.

The council committee on laws recommended approval of the realignment citing the justifications of the executive department on the urgency of the satellite project.


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Mayor meets PBs

BAGUIO CITY – The city’s 128 Punong Barangays were briefed on what to expect this year during the first official  meeting with Mayor Mauricio Domogan at the city hall multi-purpose hall last week.

Foremost on the concerns brought up was the P30M funding from the 20% development fund, pegged for priority projects in the barangays.

The mayor verified reports on equal distribution of said funds which would amount to a measly P275,000 per barangay. The amount would not be enough to complete a project thus a priority list should be followed, through a P2M allocation per city council member, the mayor said.

Not all barangays will be given funds, as distribution should be guided by the local government code, the mayor clarified. Congressman Bernardo Vergara through Mayor Domogan, however has assured the barangays of an additional P30M from his funds; still to be used for priority projects.

Priority projects are the city’s drainage and sewerage, including the city camp lagoon. Whatever is lacking, “iremedyo tayo,” the mayor said. If needs be, the next projects would be allocated funds in 2012, he added.

The mayor also regarded the agreement between and among the PBs as the fruit of “good teamwork and cooperation,” as with the “beauty of unity.”

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Speech Delivered by Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan during the Cordillera Month Closing Ceremony
July 26 SLU-BC




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