Senate OKs Lower House bill revising Baguio City’s century-old Charter

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9/27/2021 11:30:00 PM

House Bill No. 8882 or the Revised Charter of the City of Baguio was approved with 23 affirmative votes, no negative votes, and no abstention. The House of Representatives approved the measure in March 22 of this year.

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The Senate on Monday, Sept. 27, approved on third and final reading the bill revising the 112-year-old charter of Baguio City.House Bill No. 8882 or the Revised Charter of the City of Baguio was approved with 23 affirmative votes, no negative votes, and no abstention. The House of Representatives approved the measure in March 22 of this year.

“As one of the most loved cities by Filipinos and foreign tourists, Baguio City, through its revised charter, will surely secure sustainable progress that will redound not just to the benefit of Baguio residents but the entire country as well, most especially its indigenous people’s community,” Sen. Francis Tolentino said in sponsoring the bill.

Tolentino, chair of the Senate Committee on Local Government, also said that with the passage of the measure, Baguio City will continue its legacy as a symbol of enduring progress and rich history.The senator pointed out the original charter of the city was crafted in 1909 by the late Justice George Malcolm as a rest and relaxation area for the Americans. Tolentino said this highlights the need to “update, upgrade, and revise the charter” to make it more attuned to the times.

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Baguio City Rep. Mark Go and Kalinga Lone District Rep. Allen Jesse Mangaoang, authors of the measure, had earlier held hearings in Baguio City together with Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong and Tolentino and all stakeholders from the private sector and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.

Tolentino said the House version is “probably the best one yet crafted,” as the current version of the measure, with amendments, ensures the sustainable development of Baguio City while preserving the rights of the indigenous people enshrined under Republic Act (RA) No. 8371 or the Indigenous People’s Rights Act of 1997.

The bill seeks to create new offices within the structure of the city government, including the addition of a City Environment and Parks Management Officer, City Planning and Sustainable Development Officer, and the City Traffic and Transportation Management Officer.

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It also aims to institutionalize the generation of renewable energy (RE) from waste through waste-to-energy and other technologies consistent with RA No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and RA No. 9513 or the Renewable Energy Act of 2008.

Together with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the National Water Resources Board, and the Baguio City Water District, the measure also places mechanisms to protect, conserve, develop, and substantially manage its forest lands and watersheds.

Once enacted into law, councils such as the City Creative Council, Smart City Council, E-Governance Council, and other bodies will be created in pursuit of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).The lawmaker also said the new charter of Baguio makes use of the “sustainable-smart-creative city approach” which could serve as a template for future charter revisions.

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“Whether it is a coastal city, whether it is in a land-locked or a mountainous area, we have to have a forward-looking vision on how a city should be 20 to 30 years from now,” Tolentino said.

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