Adaptive reuse of old Diplomat Hotel and the Baguio Heritage Hill urged

Oct 21, 2017

Availing of the initiative of Public-Private Partnerships City Councilors Maria Mylen Victoria Yaranon and Elmer Datuin filed with the City Council a proposed resolution for the restoration, retrofitting and adaptive re-use of the old Diplomat Hotel building and the Baguio Heritage Hill through a Public-Private Partnership for the People Initiative (P4) via a joint venture or lease agreement modality and using the competitive challenge procedure in the selection of the private sector component.

Explaining the basis for the proposed legislative measure councillors Yaranon and Datuin cited Ordinance Numbered 61, series of 2017 otherwise known as the “Baguio City Public Private Partnership for the People Initiative Code” approved by the august body and its pertinent sections thereof which would facilitate the rehabilitation and re-use of the historically significant edifice of the city.

Among the specific provisions of the said code which were pointed out by Yaranon and Datuin to justify their proposal are Section 8 (a) of Chapter 2 which states, “the City, through the appropriate and viable P4 mode, may undertake developmental projects, including but not limited to xxx hotels and resorts xxx parks and open space development or redevelopment xxx heritage conservation xxx tourism xxx among other development projects”, Section 10 of the same chapter which states, “in undertaking a specific P4 project, the City may adopt and pursue any of the following P4 modalities and provide for other modalities not inconsistent with law: (14) Joint Venture, (15) Lease or affermage”.

In the selection of the private sector component the proposed resolution likewise cited Section 5 (b) of Chapter 1 of the said Code which states, “Competitive challenge or Swiss challenge is an alternative selection process wherein third parties or challengers shall be invited to submit comparative proposals to an unsolicited proposal. Accordingly, the Private Sector Proponent who submitted the unsolicited proposal, or the original proponent, is accorded the right to match any superior offers by a comparative Private Sector Component”.

It was further observed that the Dominican Hill which comprises 32,402 square meters is one of few undeveloped vantage points that provide a 360 degree panoramic view and vista of the entire city and can serve as a natural view deck if it will be developed.

Finally, the proposed resolution also mentioned the kind of proposals that would have to be submitted for the consideration of the city and these are: that the proposals must restore the attractiveness of the project site as a nature inspired tourist destination with low-density tourist facilities development, it must adopt an approach to encourage maximum restoration of the structures to their original functional state and used according to the future requirement of the project as will be designed and planned, development of the site must be conservation sensitive, it must restore the old hotel building into a functional facility that will generate income and the proposal must adopt an extensive nature based landscaping theme.

The proposed resolution is expected to be tackled during the next regular session of the City Council.

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