Baguio City Dreams “A Safer, Adaptive, Resilient City” After COVID19

BAGUIO CITY (June 20, 2020) – Baguio City is dreaming to become a safer adaptive and resilient city as it looks forward for the “new normal”.
With its Covid-19 recovery and resiliency plan (RRP), a form of a post disaster need assessment, executive department officials here met with some non-government organizations focusing on assessment, recovery and resiliency, strategies and policy recommendation, programs, monitoring and evaluation, and communication.
According to Acting City Planning and Development Coordinator Antonette Anaban, the city RRP was done in conformation with the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) Covid-19 plan.  Offices shall then enroll specific programs to contribute to the city’s recovery, she said.
The RRP mentions of assessed losses as foregone and reduced income over time until the economy and assets are recovered.
During the quarantine period starting March 17, there were higher operating costs and unexpected expenses such as more than P100M for the Department of Health (DOH); more than P260M covering Social Amelioration Program (SAP), cost of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), food packs and financial assistance through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD); P53,600 for basic education, P13M for the University of the Philippines (UP); P4.8M loss for TVET/TESDA with a total rough estimate of P417 million.
During the same period, the productive sector through the Department of Labor and Employment-registered establishment lost possible income of 766M, construction workers had an unrealized income of P56M and export-dependent industries had a loss of P4.4B.
While micro, small and medium enterprises also incurred losses amounting to P612 M as with cooperatives, tourism, agriculture and transportation.
However, Anaban said challenges as well as business opportunities abound during the quarantine period as a silver lining of the gloomy clouds of the COVID19 crisis.
The RRP framework delves on the long-term goals, sectoral outcomes, general strategies and cross cutting concerns for vulnerable groups, cultural sensitivity, poverty reduction, gender inclusivity and environment.
As such, the public is assured of improved and adequate health systems, ensure undisrupted social and educational services; restored economic activity through support for business and livelihood; adequate infrastructure and transport support system.
The city government is also empowered to respond with stakeholders in emergencies and maintain environmental quality.

The basic family unit and communities are thus strengthened for self-reliance; with mechanisms to facilitate programs for specific sectors; standards are implemented for health emergencies while health emergency response teams are strengthened, with the expansion of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center outside of Baguio City.
For the education sector, different modalities are being enhanced for learners even without face-to-face encounter but with good hygienic practices facilities, reliable and affordable internet services.
As for employment concerns the labor force needs “retooling,” facilitating and immediate implementation of the LGU Emergency Employment Assistance Program (LEAP), and ensuring that health protocols are in place in offices and work sites, said Anaban.
For the agriculture sector, farmers in the city need to be capacitated on product processing and value; linked to logistics facilities and buyers and engage them for efforts of food sustainability.
Financial literacy, technical assistance, investment and development of emerging sectors, transport, industry and financial services shall also be in place, the RRP indicated.
Consumers are taken cared of in the RRP through advocacy strengthening, price and supply monitoring while policies should be adopted to ensure continuity of agriculture production and supply chain.
The RRP also gives premium to more infrastructure and transportation network should be implemented with non-motorized transportation, bike lanes and sidewalks along roads and a standard design for pandemic-ready PUVs.
Access to stable power supply and affordable energy source, including the development of renewable sources should be aggressively pursued, the RRP also indicated.
While at the governance sector, other infrastructure and environment,  plans are underway for enhancing and re-designing of government facilities to consider ease during calamities and emergency situations; upgrading of information technology infrastructure, and the public-private-partnership project implementation.

The aggressive implementation of garbage inter local cooperation, projects on green urban spaces, compliance of rainwater harvesting system, proper waste disposal management are also in the plan.
The RRP also looks at research and development of natural resources for disease prevention and cure.
While financing and investment requirements, which were equally important facets of the plan, were also tackled in the RRP.
***Artemio A. Dumlao***

Amianan Balita Ngayon