Save Baguio City

February 10, 2019

The Duterte  administration “saved” the island of Boracay from being a cesspool and is now saving the Manila Bay “cesspool” which is  three times bigger than Boracay. The administration is now planning to save Cebu City. But what about Baguio City, long known as the summer capital of the Philippines?

Baguio, like Boracay, contributes a substantial share to the tourism industry. But what was once an ecological city, with all the pine trees that gave the surroundings such fresh and fragrant smell and absorbed pollution is now reduced to a city of structures in cement and steel.

One comment I read is that the city is going down the drain. The traffic situation is worse than before. It is overpopulated. Big business is lording over its economy, never mind the damage done to the environment.

I remember years ago when my family visited Baguio City. My children were young then. We rented a small house near a cascading creek but the stench was very annoying because, as the owner of the house informed us, the creek had become a garbage dumpsite for residents and visitors of the city. They have disrespected the nature spirits, she said.

“Ang baho ng amoy!” natatandaan kong sabi ng mga anak ko.
Kinabukasan ay nagyaya na silang umalis patungong Pangasinan kung saan may beach na mapagliliguan. Mainit na raw sa Baguio.

Nang gabing matulog kami sa Baguio, ang mga anak kong lalaki ay nakasuot lamang ng shorts at walang suot na pang-itaas dahil naiinitan sila! Naiinitan na sila sa Baguio City!

Wala na ang Baguio noon, kung saan  sa paanan pa lang nito ay pinapatay na namin ang air-condition ng aming sasakyan dahil malamig na hanggang sa makarating na sa itaas; at maaamoy mo na ang mababangong pine trees.

Wala na ang Baguio na malalanghap ang sariwang hangin habang naglalakad sa Session Road. Ngayon, usok-lason polusyon na ang malalanghap!

Nagkaroon pa ang lunsod ng mabahong tambakan ng basura na naging kontrobersyal sa buong Pilipinas. Nagkaroon din ito ng malaking isyu hinggil sa pagpuputol ng puno upang gawing parking lot ng isang malaking mall.

Ngayon ay nananawagan ang mga batang Baguio kay Pangulong Duterte na huwag putulin ang mga pine trees sa isang ektaryang lupa na diumano’y gagawin ding parking lot.

Ngayong eleksyon, tatakbo sa pagka-mayor si former CIDG Chief Superintendent Benjamin Magalong na naniniwalang dapat proteksyunan ang Inang Kalikasan ng Baguio City. Naniniwala siya na lahat silang nakatira sa lunsod na ito ay kailangang maging responsable sa pangangalaga sa Inang Kalikasan ng lunsod.

Sa Baguio ipinanganak, lumaki at nag-aral si Benjie Magalong hanggang sa maging isang  kadete ng Philippine Military Academy (PMA). May mababait na magulang na mahal na mahal niya na silang nagturo sa kanya na maging matapang sa larangang pinasok niya bilang isang pulis, at maging mapagmahal sa kapwa Pilipino.

“I will be a steward of Mother Nature in Baguio City because genuine progress in the city will not prosper if taking care of its environment  will take a back seat, “ Magalong told me.

“I don’t believe that Baguio City should be destroyed in the name of material ‘progress.’ Baguio is our house , home, habitat; our refuge. We love it and will preserve it for genuine progress,” added Magalong .

I know Benjie and his goodparents from way back.

(bangonkalikasan@yahoo.com)