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Baguio opens up investment zones in order to enhance the local economy.

The municipal government has developed a list of projects to attract investment and generate money in order to strengthen the local economy and maintain the ongoing coronavirus disease response (Covid-19).

“We have a list of numerous priority investment areas that heralds the start of a new day, a new Baguio for all investors,” City Budget Officer Leticia Clemente stated on Wednesday afternoon during the City Public Information Office’s weekly “Ugnayan” program.

She stated that the initiatives will be undertaken either solely by the local administration or in collaboration with the private sector.

Solid and liquid waste programs, sewer treatment plant restoration, the modern abattoir along Marcos Highway, the cultural center complex and the Baguio Convention Center, city market development, Irisan eco-park, and the city’s public cemetery are among the projects on the list.

She added that the waste-to-energy project, which has been in the works for several years, was included to address the city’s solid waste management problem, which has been draining the city’s coffers due to cash spent on transportation and tipping fees to a private facility in Central Luzon.

While the city has a “carrying capacity” issue, Clemente said the local government incorporated Wright Park’s growth with the other parks to deal with the trend toward more tourist-friendly open spaces.

The Asin Hydro Power Plant, she continued, is also open to investors because the city lacks the technical ability to effectively manage and profit from the facility.

Mass housing projects are also up for investment, as the city recognizes the need to respond to the growing demand.

The Burnham Park renovation plan, which was supposed to start in 2020 but was put on hold owing to the pandemic, is also on the list of programs and potential investment sites.

Several idle sites in the central business area, which are registered and controlled by the city government, are also available to investors.

The Maharlika Livelihood Center on Lower Session Road, which is operated by the Department of Agriculture, will be included to the list after it is handed over to the city government.

“Patapos na ang contract at ite-give-over na sa atin ito ng DA (the contract is about to expire, and the DA will pass it over to us),” she explained.

When the city decides to take out a loan to fund a project, Clemente says it must carefully manage its available cash and ensure that it will be able to pay the amortization.

When the pandemic broke out, funding meant for the city’s various initiatives was transferred to the Covid-19 response.

According to Clemente, the local administration will spend at least PHP300 million to remedy the Covid-19 issue.

While she acknowledged that health is a vital expenditure, she also stated that development objectives can be pursued without depleting the city’s resources.

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