Press Release
September 27, 2021

Senate approves bill paving way for Baguio City's sustainable development

The Senate on Monday passed on third and final reading a bill revising the 112-year-old charter of Baguio City with a vote of 23 affirmative, no negative, and no abstention.

Sen. Francis "Tol" Tolentino, sponsor of House Bill No. 8882 or the Revised Charter of the City of Baguio, said with this measure, Baguio City promises to continue its legacy as a symbol of enduring progress and rich history in the country.

"As one of the most loved cities by Filipinos and foreign tourists, Baguio City, through its revised charter, will surely secure sustainable progress that will redound not just to the benefit of Baguio residents but the entire country as well, most especially its indigenous people's community," Tolentino said.

Tolentino, as chairman of the Committee on Local Government, held hearings in Baguio and worked closely with the authors of the bill, Reps. Mark Go and Allen Jesse Mangaoang, as well as local officials of Baguio led by Mayor Benjamin Magalong, and all stakeholders from the private sector and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.

Tolentino said this version is "probably the best one yet crafted," adding that the current version of the measure with amendments ensures the sustainable development of Baguio City while preserving the rights of the indigenous people enshrined under Republic Act (RA) No. 8371 or the Indigenous People's Rights Act of 1997.

The bill, which revises the 112-year-old city charter, seeks to create new offices within the structure of the city government, including the addition of a City Environment and Parks Management Officer, City Planning and Sustainable Development Officer, and the City Traffic and Transportation Management Officer.

The bill also seeks to institutionalize the generation of renewable energy from waste through waste-to-energy and other technologies consistent with RA No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and RA No. 9513 or the Renewable Energy Act of 2008.

The city government, in coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the National Water Resources Board, and the Baguio City Water District, is also mandated to protect, conserve, develop, and substantially manage its forest lands and watersheds.

Once enacted into law, councils such as the City Creative Council, Smart City Council, E-Governance Council, and other bodies will be created in pursuit of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The original charter of the city was crafted in 1909 by the late Justice George Malcolm as a rest and relaxation area for the Americans. Tolentino stressed the need to "update, upgrade, and revise the charter" to make it more attuned to the times. He said the decrepit charter is not utilizable in terms of confronting modern-day sustainable local governance insofar as making Baguio City more competitive with other cities and in making it a smart city.

Tolentino said the new charter of Baguio makes use of the 'sustainable-smart-creative city approach' which could serve as a template for future charter revisions. "Whether it is a coastal city, whether it is in a land-locked or a mountainous area, we have to have a forward-looking vision on how a city should be 20 to 30 years from now," Tolentino said.

The revised Baguio City charter bill is co-authored by Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III, Majority Leader Juan Miguel "Migz" F. Zubiri, Sens. Imee Marcos and Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa. The bill was passed on third reading in the House of Representatives on March 22 this year.

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