Press Release
February 28, 2010

Villar eyes 'e-jeeps' for greener Baguio

Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Manny Villar pledged to help make Baguio City a truly clean and green tourist destination, starting with the propagation of "e-jeeps" for the country's summer capital.

"Baguio City has long been known as the Summer Capital of the Philippines. But I also understand that we have problems in the city. We have to address these problems because we want to help Baguio City regain its prominence," Villar said.

The Department of Tourism reported that arrivals to Baguio City in the first three quarters of 2009 hit 530,706, a drop of 12.65 percent over 2008.

Tourism is the top economic sector in the city.

"Tourism and environment go hand in hand. We have to clean the air in Baguio City because pollution is a deterrent to tourism which provides hundreds of jobs and livelihood opportunities in the city," Villar said.

He said he would make available funding for the propagation of e-jeeps or electric jeeps through dedicated lending windows in the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) or the National Development Co. (NDC).

"E-jeeps can help cut down pollution levels in the city and make it a more attractive destination for local and foreign tourists. The local government unit can take the lead in securing the funding to establish fleets of e-jeeps but the national government under my leadership will commit the necessary resources for Baguio City," Villar said.

In the short term, he said he would bat for the extension of the government's diesel engine replacement program to create fleets of public utility vehicles whose reduced emissions will meet pollution standards.

Villar pledged to prioritize Baguio City, and Northern Luzon in general, in the government's tourism promotions and marketing campaigns.

"Baguio City will always have a special place in the hearts of Filipinos. This is why we should prioritize the city when we lay down our tourism marketing and promotions program. The improvement of the transport infrastructure has made Northern Luzon even more accessible to visitors. What we need to do is make it more attractive to tourists," the NP standard bearer said.

"Baguio City is unlike any other city in the Philippines. The combination of its climate, its surroundings and its people make it unique and special. We have so many beautiful beach destinations in the country but we only have one Baguio City," Villar said.

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