Today is the 107th Charter Day anniversary of Baguio City, with the theme fostering meaningful change through synergy and cooperation. One hundred seventh. Wow. The City’s old…and yet new. New in the area of reinventing itself as the primal city of Cordillera Administrative Region as well as the country’s only mountain resort city.
In upgrading the City, we aspire to Western ideals of efficiency and modernism but on the other hand we also want for positive Filipino or Cordilleran values and aspirations to shape our place which should distinguish it from any other city. Like, when we say Paris! we instantly have a distinct image in our minds. Manila as well (and I know what’s in your minds because it might also be in mine ha ha). What about when we say Baguio! what do we or people have in mind?
The homepage of the City’s weekly paper, Midland Courier, reads that the weeklong celebratory activities for Character Week in October have been identified by the City Council. The Council wishes to showcase the Baguio as a Character City in line with the City’s vision of a peaceful, clean, green and progressive Baguio, a center for education, trade and family-oriented tourism, managed by God-loving and strong-willed leaders in partnership with self-reliant and disciplined citizenry. (I’m highly suspicious of vision statements that contain the phrase ‘God loving’ or ‘God fearing’ though.)
To reiterate the values promoted for the City:
5. center for education;
6. center for trade;
7. center for family-oriented tourism;
8. God-loving leaders;
9. strong willed leaders;
10. self reliant citizenry;
11. disciplined citizenry.
On yet another Charter celebration today, I hope both sides of the partnership would reflect how each has fared as to the above and what still needs to be done the rest of the year until the next celebration and reflection. If renewed commitments between City Hall and the citizenry could be publicly made and celebrated through a pledge making ceremony, that would be better.