On the approved Baguio City Charter Bill (HB 3759)

What should the Baguio City Charter contain? Shouldn’t locals have a say to its content? Was there community participation?

Provisions of the approved Bill (HB 3759) are:

1. Confusing

The objectives of the City of Baguio are herein established as follows:
(a) To make the City of Baguio a home of diverse and dynamic cultures, a center of education, trade and tourism in harmony with nature, managed by God-loving, steadfast leaders in partnership with responsible and peace-loving citizens;
(b) To utilize an integrated life cycle approach to environmental management; promote eco-cultural tourism and tourism-related micro enterprises; ensure the sustenance of the City of Baguio as an educational center of Northern Luzon; develop and implement an investment portfolio and as an aggressive marketing strategy; etcetera.

a home of diverse and dynamic cultures: to what extent can the native culture continue into the future in the face of a policy that is permissive of diversity and dynamism of non-native cultures? I am for diversity and dynamism anytime but in this case – the case of the City – what’s happening is native peoples and culture are fast becoming extinct and a thing for museums and occasional cultural shows. Is this what the City of Baguio desires? The Charter should be more specific regarding this.

managed by God-loving steadfast leaders in partnership with responsible and peace loving citizens: how come this phrase feels like the burden is on the citizens who are expected to be “responsible and peace loving” whereas the leaders seem to be portrayed as being on a pedestal and long suffering i.e. “God-loving and steadfast”? From my analysis the phrase already pictures an imbalance of power.

utilize an integrated life cycle approach to environmental management: how is this translated into a strategy specific to the City? the Charter should be more specific and not merely quoting from a textbook on environmental science.

develop and implement an investment portfolio and as an aggressive marketing strategy: investment portfolio around what? what is the aggressive marketing strategy being referred to? and how aggressive is not too aggressive as not to impinge on sustainable development?

2. Too short to be called a charter. A university student leader (of an organization) would say his or her organization’s bylaws are more complete in comparison. Take a look at San Diego (California) Charter (this is the original 1931 document, with some amendments later), just to have a look at what a real charter contains.

3. Too general to the point of engendering a thousand and one interpretations. An example is the criteria of awardees of A&D lands. By the by, the way the Baguio Midland Courier reported it, the proposed new Charter is as if it is being lauded as the new A&D land disposal bill for all the hype created around this. It took away the very meaning of “charter”.

How the Senate approved it without even raising an eyebrow as to the document’s brevity and whether it has in fact been “approved” by local citizens is even more confusing.

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2 Comments

  1. This is one of the downside of tourism. One of the negative impacts is the commodification of cultures. I’m all for diversity as well but not to the extent that the indigenous cultures be erased. You don’t want Baguio to be the next Boracay – a place so international that visitors have no idea that there were indigenous communities in the area. What happened to them? Their culture, their history – I have no idea, like most people do.

    Like

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