South Drive to be renamed Halsema Avenue

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The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, approved on first reading a proposed ordinance renaming South Drive as Halsema Avenue in honor of Engr. Eusebius Halsema who served the city with exemplary distinction as City Mayor, City Engineer and District Engineer for 17 years from 1920 to 1937 and the Philippine government’s Bureau of Public Works for 29 years.

City legislators stated that the City Engineer, in coordination and collaboration with the Department of Public Works and Highways–Baguio City District Engineering Office (DPWH-BCDEO) will undertake the implementation of the ordinance to include, but not limited to, the removal of old street signs and their replacement to be named after the late mayor and to indicate the new road name on official maps of the city.

The council proposed the allocation of some P100,000 or so much initially to put in place the renamed street signs at strategic points of the road, including appropriate road marks and roadside development befitting it.

Further, future allocations shall be part of the City Engineer’s annual budget to ensure that the road signs and roadside development will be undertaken regularly by the city government.

The council tasked the City Public Information Office of the City Mayor’s Office to ensure the widest share the information on the ordinance.

According to the council, it is but a fitting accolade to honor the late Mayor Halsema whose remains are still buried at the Baguio cemetery in memorializing ways right in the city he faithfully and ably served, thus, renaming South Drive, which connects Upper Session road with Baguio Country Club road at the western side of the city, will be a tribute worth the public esteem accorded him.

The council stipulated it is often said that a city is only as good as its past is well remembered for the lessons illuminating the pathways towards the future.

Moreover, the body claimed that at no other time perhaps does this holds greater worth than now, when opportunities are never too late to honor leaders and builders whose footprints in the city’s history are well embedded and one such individual is Eusebius Halsema, a civil engineer from Ohio who served the city with exemplary distinction in collective capacities during the American occupation in the country.

For 17 years, Halsema was the City Mayor, City Engineer and District Engineer of the city and the rest of the then Mountain Province, serving both leadership positions with remarkable engineering ability and competence that epitomize good governance practices in today’s times.

It was during Halsema’s stewardship that most of the roadways in the city were converted into well paved streets befitting the colonial times. He also made possible the establishment of an air link for Baguio-Manila, the forerunner Mountain Provinces High School now known as the Baguio City High School, several public elementary schools, the old auditorium of Burnham Park, among others.

The ordinance was referred to the concerned committee for study and recommendation whether the same will be passed on second and third readings. By Dexter A. See