Baguio projects, stripped of funding due to COVID-19, to resume in August | Inquirer News

Baguio projects, stripped of funding due to COVID-19, to resume in August

06:47 PM June 23, 2020

BAGUIO CITY—Work on the P100-million improvement of Burnham Park’s drainage system may resume on August, along with other projects designed to ease Baguio overcrowding, which were suspended when Luzon was locked down in March, according to city officials.

City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña said the management committee meeting on Tuesday (June 23) that national agencies have reinstated some Baguio allocations that were pulled out temporarily as government dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong negotiated with various agencies to recover the funds, which included a P40 million allotment for improvement of the bleacher section of Burnham Park’s Athletic Bowl and another P40 million to fix sidewalks, Dela Peña said.


But the city government may not be able to spend on the plan to redevelop Baguio’s public market, Dela Pena told the city council a day earlier during its June 22 regular session.


The council had approved the P6-billion project that would convert the market into a four-building showcase of Baguio and Benguet produce, after Magalong in 2019 terminated a lease contract won in the early 1990s by the Uniwide Group of Companies which was undergoing a court-administered liquidation process.

“We consulted our local finance committee regarding the viability of this project and [they said] we can’t build it,” if the market’s only source of revenue would be fees paid by vendors, Dela Peña said.

Two banking institutions also opened credit facilities for Baguio projects, which were designed to improve public resources because Baguio’s carrying capacity may have been breached due to tourism, migration and industries operating here.

But borrowing money for the market project would not be tenable if it can’t generate funds in time to pay for the loans, Dela Peña told the council.

He said the Baguio government is reviewing two unsolicited proposals for a modern Baguio market, which were pitched by two mall giants, for a possible public-private partnership.

A consortium of market vendors intends to participate in the project should Magalong place any of the proposals to a Swiss challenge, Dela Peña said.

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TAGS: allocation, budget, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Health, Overcrowding, pandemic, Projects

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