THE Igorot Stone Kingdom tourist spot in Baguio City has been provided a temporary business permit, allowing the tourist site to reopen in time for Holy Week after five full months of closure.
The temporary permit, valid for three months of operation, was issued for the site following the signing and issuance of an Affidavit of Understanding between the city and Pio Velasco, park chief executive officer (CEO), promising to comply with the conditions of the city government.
“Right now, the city government has issued a provisional permit to the Igorot Stone Kingdom due to the lack of a building permit for the constructed structures while they are fixing the entire area to be titled,” City Administrator Engr. Bonifacio dela Peña said.
As part of the conditions for the issuance of a more permanent permit, Velasco was ordered to conduct slope stability and structural integrity studies on the 6,000 square meter park to ensure safety standards are met.
“The good thing about this is that they have been given an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC), which means that there is no objection to their project in their area. There has also been a meeting with the agencies concerned, up to the barangay and residents ,and they have followed all the requirements they were supposed to present,” Dela Pena said.
Other conditions set by the local government include the provision of a traffic mitigation approved by the City Engineering Office, Baguio City Police Office, and Department of Public Works and Highways, a commitment to consult with the city’s Tourism Office for sustainability, and the establishment of disclaimers on the site that indicates that the stories and symbolisms in the site are not reflective of or associated with any specific indigenous culture or people.
Velasco, in accordance with the agreement, also pledged to confine operations to the current boundaries of the park, as well as undertake efforts to ensure that the operations of the park do not reroute or block the natural waterways in the site.
According to Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong, the decision to allow the reopening of the park was based on many deliberations and public consultations, as well as the mid-March dismissal of the charges against the park’s management for violations of Presidential Decree (PD) 1096 or the National Building Code for lack of merit.
The park was closed in November of 2022 due to permit and safety concerns as the park had been operating without business and building permits.