BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan expressed his gratitude to Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat for coming out with separate pronouncements that there are no orders from their respective offices for the total closure of Baguio City although there are matters on the state of the city’s environment that have to undergo rehabilitation.
The local chief executive claimed that there are certain areas in the city that need to undergo rehabilitation, especially in the places where there are rampant violations of environmental laws, rules and regulations but such violations do not warrant the total closure of the city considering that whatever rehabilitation that will be done will be confined in the said places.
Earlier, Secretary Cimatu announced that there is no order on the total closure of Baguio City but there is a need for the conduct of an inventory of the pine trees as well as the sustained propagation of more pine trees so that the ones that maintains the city’s cool weather will not be wiped out.
On the other hand, Secretary Puyat also supported Cimatu’s pronouncements and added that the rehabilitation of tourist destinations will be dealt with differently.
“We are grateful to the two Cabinet officials for clarifying the much publicized closure of Baguio City to help put things I their proper perspective. We appreciate the support of the national government in trying to correct whatever are the problems of the city that need to be addressed the soonest without totally closing it to visitors,” Domogan stressed.
He added that no less than Secretary Puyat admitted that the situation of Boracay and Baguio City are totally different that is why whatever rehabilitation that will be recommended for some parts of the city will not result to its total closure considering that the area is landlocked and total closure is not actually applicable.
According to him, what is important is for concerned agencies to help the local government identify the violators of existing environmental laws, rules and regulations so that the violators will be the ones that will be subjected to rehabilitation wherein the violators will suffer the consequences of their failure to comply with prescribed regulations governing the preservation and protection of the environment.
He called on establishments that continue to directly discharge their waste water to the different river systems to start correcting their deficiencies and not to await technical people from concerned government agencies and the local government to provide them details of their violations for them to avoid being penalized in the future.
Domogan stated that there should be a close coordination between the concerned government agencies and the local government in the identification of possible violators of environmental laws, rules and regulations so that there will be a synchronized issuance of the notices of violation for them to correct their identified violations to avoid whatever inconsistencies that should be corrected.
He said that the local government has been constantly doing its part in ensuring the compliance of businesses to environmental laws, rules and regulations to help sustain the city’s state of the environment.
By Dexter A. See