Mayor authorized to negotiate with GSIS on tree park

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BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong to negotiate with or enter into an agreement with the State-owned Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) for the possible development of the parcel of land adjacent to the city-owned Baguio Convention Center as a tree park and to form part of the city’s remaining patches of trees.

The resolution stated that the GSIS owns the over 3-hectare parcel of land adjacent to the city-owned Baguio Convention Center which remains as a tree park to date and part of the city’s remaining vacant spaces that could be preserved and protected for the city to have a breathing space from the developments that are being introduced right in the central business district.

Based on a study previously conducted by the University of the Philippines (UP) College Baguio, the said parcel of land currently hosts 544 pine trees, 49 plants with 35 invertebrate species and 24 bird species known only to be found in the Cordilleras.

During the previous administration, the local government expressed its interest to purchase the said parcel of land from the GSIS to be preserved and protected as a tree park and to prevent the same from being developed into a condominium property but the same did not materialize due to disagreements on the supposed purchase price of the said property.

Resolution No. 095, series of 2019 expressed the local government’s appreciation to the official declaration of the GSIS, through its president and general manager, Jesus Clint Aranas, on January 28, 2019, to preserve the trees that were planted in the parcel of land it owns adjacent to the Baguio convention Center.

GSIS management stated in an official statement that the land where the tree park stands will not be sold or converted into a commercial area in response to the stiff opposition raised by former Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan on reported plans that the property is being eyed by a condominium developer for the put up of a multi-storey condominium project.

Further, the local government previously manifested its interest and willingness to be a partner of the GSIS and may be tasked with responsibilities as may be contained in any program or memorandum to be formulated or entered into two enhance and preserve and protect the so-called tree park.

The local government earlier submitted to the GSIS management a conceptual development plan of the tree park to allow the same to serve its purpose as one of the remaining open spaces in the central business district area to help in balancing the air quality in the said area.

One of the 15-point collective agenda of the present administration is for a revitalized state of the city’s environment which could be achieved through the aggressive establishment of tree farms that will serve as buffer zones for the city’s growing population.

Part of the proposal to improve the current state of the tree park is the planting of added tree species and the designation of flower gardens that will add up to the scenery of the place that could become one of the most frequented places in the city among domestic and foreign visitors. Wanting to spend a well-deserved break in the country’s undisputed Summer Capital.

By Dexter A. See

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