Baguio Dairy Farm eyed as bus terminal
BAGUIO CITY—A 30-year-old plan to build a bus terminal at a portion of the 94-hectare Baguio Dairy Farm here has been revived in a bid to ease traffic flow at the heart of this mountain resort city, after Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol approved the idea.
In his weekly news conference, Mayor Mauricio Domogan said he would endorse the proposal to the Department of Agriculture (DA), which operates the dairy farm in Barangay Dontogan.
“I understand the city is also asking for space [at the farm] to be converted into a bus terminal and we might just agree with that request,” Piñol said during a meeting on Aug. 11 with Cordillera officials at La Trinidad, Benguet province.
Cordelia Lacsamana, the city environment officer, said the city government had been concerned about “traffic flow problems and population growth so a bus terminal in the outskirts made sense especially with the construction at the time of the Marcos Highway.”
But the DA then had turned down the idea, she said, adding that it is “still a feasible plan.”
Lacsamana said the bus terminal proposal dated back to the 1980s when the city government pursued a transport and traffic plan that required the bus depot to be situated away from downtown Baguio.
Except for a major bus company which has its own terminal on Utility Road, most buses load passengers at the temporary terminal on Governor Pack Road in the downtown area.
Before the proposed terminal is built, both the city government and the DA would need to address the housing needs of more than 300 people who have squatted in the dairy compound since 2013, Piñol said.
According to a series of inventories conducted by the DA, most of the settlers claim rights from a certificate of ancestral land title issued to an Ibaloy family covering 78 ha.
The document, which was originally designated as the Baguio Stock Farm in a 1940 proclamation, is one of five titles elevated in the Supreme Court for annulment.
Piñol said he would ask Domogan for assistance in dealing with the squatters because he had proposed to revive a national dairy at 11 ha of unoccupied farm property.
“The smaller settlements would not be a problem, but we are concerned about big settlements. The small settlers can easily be part of the plan [as workers when government modernizes the local dairy],” he said. With a report from Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon