DILG chief backs ban on new buildings, tree cutting in Baguio

DILG chief backs ban on new buildings, tree cutting in Baguio

MANILA, Philippines — Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Monday backed a proposed yearlong moratorium on the construction of high-rise buildings in Baguio City to afford the summer capital “a breather from overdevelopment.”

Año, in a statement, agreed with Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong’s proposed construction ban, saying the city “is now heavily congested and it’s taking so much toll on the environment.”

He said the city’s environmental condition was now a priority concern of the interagency task force headed by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, noting that a draft executive order (EO) on the building ban and cutting of trees had been submitted to the Office of the President.

Año said the draft included a funding component to implement priority projects, such as the upgrading and expansion of the city’s sewage treatment system.

“The city needs to pause, breathe, and be healed because of overdevelopment. Let us save Baguio City while we still can. The proposed EO will pave the way for a reevaluation of the city’s urban development planning in order to consider the impact to the environment,” said the secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Año said he was confident that with Magalong, a retired police general, at the city’s helm, Baguio could also address problems on watershed depletion and traffic congestion. —Jeannette I. Andrade