Baguio has finally started updating its City Charter which has been left untouched for 112 years.
Sen. Francis Tolentino, Baguio Rep. Mark Go and Mayor Benjie Magalong set up the meeting last Monday at the Baguio Country Club to amend the Baguio City Charter.
“The city charter is supposed to address the conditions of the present as well as the future,” Tolentino said.
“This attempt to change the organic law of Baguio City is to address the issues for the people not yet born about 100 years from now,” he added.
Senator Tolentino, chairman of the Senate committee on local government, also called on representatives from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the State-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC), among others, to discuss and agree among themselves how to harmonize conflicting provisions of the Senate and House versions of the bills that seek to revise the city charter.
Senator Tolentino presided over the meeting of the technical working group (TWG) of the Senate Committee on Local Government held to resolve the conflicting provisions of House Bill (HB) 8882 and Senate Bill 2163 that seek to revise the century-old city charter.
Among the provisions agreed upon last Tuesday was replacing the city parks and management officer into the environment and parks management officer and the creation of the traffic and transportation management officer.
As for traffic management, Tolentino asked city officials whether the collection of parking fees should be made by that office or by the city treasury and the city said that the latter is more efficient.
They also agreed that the parking in large areas like that of SM should be under the said office as CCTV would be set up in sync with the Smart City concept.
The NEDA’s plan to have a business permit and licensing officer was not approved by Magalong as he said there’s no need to elevate it to a department level.
Rep. Go also said that there’s also a need for a liquid and solid waste management officer apart from the EPMO. Both Go and Magalong also said that there is a need for a public safety and management officer.
Magalong also said that the Creative City Council, advisory council, and the Smart City Council should also be included in the charter. The Creative City Council was necessary given the fact that Baguio was included in the Creative Cities Network by Unesco in 2017.
The advisory council, meanwhile, is the think tank of the mayor.
Tolentino said that although the Smart City Council is already in the works, the name “smart city” may no longer be that smart 100 years from now.
The hearing for the amendments will be continued this week with the tackling of more controversial passages.