Baguio Latest News

Cordillera autonomy bill less controversial

BAGUIO CITY February 01 – An autonomy and federalism expert underscored that House Bill (HB) 5343 or the bill that seeks to establish the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera (ARC) is less controversial compared to the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that is being pursued by the administration for Muslim Mindanao, thus, its enactment into law should not encounter rough sailing in Congress.


Lawyer Benedicto R. Bacani, Executive Director of the Cotabato-based Institute of Autonomy and Governance (IAG), explained that based on the review done on the provisions of HB 5343, it clearly defined the relationship between the national government and the autonomous regional government and the metes and bounds of governance, that is, the sharing of powers.

“The distinct identity, culture and governance of the Cordillera is enshrined in the 1987 Constitution. The only issue is the legislation of the autonomous region in the Cordillera as a region. ARC is not the Bangsamoro and its organic law is not the BBL. No constitutional amendment or change is required to pass it,” Bacani stressed.

The IAG official emphasized autonomy and federalism are not mutually exclusive since a regional autonomous government can exist under a federal system either as a federal state or a special autonomous region at par with federal states or under a federal state.

He pointed out it is critical that the regional autonomous government be in place before federalism to allow the regional government to have the leverage in negotiating with the federal states on whether it will be a special autonomous region in a federal state or it will be an independent federal state.

Under an autonomous set-up, Bacani stipulated that there will be an administrative decentralization of powers with the central government having most of the powers of government while in a federal set-up, there is shared rule and self-rule and the subsequent decentralization of powers.

The IAG is the partner of the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera in the intensified lobby for the enactment of the proposed autonomy law in both chambers of Congress through the conduct of several fora to gain the needed attention from lawmakers.

Milagros A. Rimando, regional director of the Cordillera office of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA-CAR) and vice chairperson of the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR), disclosed that the IAG and RDC-CAR is currently arranging a meeting between Cordillera and Mindanao lawmakers anytime this month for the possible simultaneous deliberation of HB 5343 and the BBL in the House of Representatives while awaiting the certification from President Rodrigo R. Duterte that the proposed Cordillera autonomy law is a priority administration legislative measure.

Aside from the meeting between Cordillera and Mindanao lawmakers, Rimando added the IAG and RDC are also currently working out a separate forum on Cordillera autonomy with the senators to reiterate on them the importance of the passage of the autonomy law before the federal form of government will be put in place through the amendment of the 1987 Constitution.



Baguio Tourist Attractions

Marker of the Philippine Commission's First Session in Baguio

This is the site of the building where the members of the Philippine Commission met from April 22 to June 11, 1904 and officially initiated the use of Baguio as the Philippine Summer Capital. The Commission was composed of Governor General Luke Wright, president, and Commissioners Henry Ide, Dean C. Worcester, T Padre Tavera, Benito Legarda, Jose de Luzuriaga, James Smith and Cameron Forbes.

Kennon Road and its Builder

Tourist-Spots-in-BaguioNamed after Col. Lyman W. Kennon, who was the final builder of the famous Benguet road, with the help of the industrious Cordillerans and foreign workers. Kennon road is the shortest and the most scenic highway linking Baguio and the lowlands. The lion's head can be found along the way. Final construction of this road was finished in 1903. Col. L. Kennon first ascended to Baguio in 1905. Of the original workers, the Igorots and Japanese were admired for their trustworthiness and willingness to work. Kennon was closed to traffic after the July 16, 1990 earthquake. It is now open to light vehicles only.

Diplomat Hotel on Dominican Hill

diplomatIn May 1911, the councils of the Province of the Dominican Order voted to construct a vacation house in Baguio on a 17-hectare property they had acquired when the American authorities were encouraging people to come here. Actual work started in 1913 under Fr. Roque Ruano and the building was inaugurated on May 23, 1925. To take advantage of the tax exemptions a school called Collegio del Santissimo Rosario was opened in June 1915 but due to the very small enrollment the school closed in 1917, reverting the building to the original vacation house. During WWII refugees first occupied it. Later the Japanese Army Liberation Forces had to bomb out the refugees from the buildings. The five hits left very extensive damage and for a time it was left unrepaired. Reconstruction was started in 1947 and completed in 1948 with most of its pre-war grandeur and beauty restored. In 1973, Diplomat Hotels, Inc. acquired ownership, remodeled the interior into a 33-bedroom hotel with modern facilities, but retained the unique and distinct personality of the Dominican Hill. In the 80's the hotel ceased operations due to the death of one of its majority stockholders. Plans are underway to develop this historical religious landmark into a tourist resort.

Philippine Military Academy

PMAThe Philippine Commission promulgated Act No. 175, which became the basis for the creation of the Philippine Constabulary in August 8, 1905. The school for the officers of the constabulary was first located in Sta. Lucia Barracks in Manila. Later in 1908, it was relocated in Baguio on the site known as Constabulary Hill later renamed Camp Henry T. Allen, in honor of the first chief of the Philippine Constabulary. With the passage of the Jones Law, the school was later changed to "Academy for Officers of the Philippine Constabulary" with a two-year curriculum. In 1908, the course was raised to collegiate level and later lengthened to three years with class 1938 as having the last graduates of that course. When the commonwealth government was established in 1935, the Philippine Military Academy was created in place of the Philippine Constabulary Academy. Under the National Defense Act, the PMA was authorized to maintain cadet strength of 350. Because of increased population, the academy transferred to Teachers Camp in June 1936 where it remained until WWII broke out. After the war the PMA headquarters was temporarily relocated at Camp Murphy and later at Alabang, while Camp Allen was being rehabilitated. Since May 1950 the Philippine Military Academy has found its permanent home at Fort del Pilar, Loakan, Baguio City.

The Mansion

The-Mansion-Baguio-CityThis imposing and majestic mansion has a long list of Filipino Presidents and American governor-generals. It has elegantly structured building and guesthouse. Its gate is patterned after that of London's Buckingham Palace. The Mansion has also been the site of several international conferences and a working office of the President of the Philippines during his visits to the City.

Camp John Hay

camp-john-hay-amphitheaterThis former American recreational facility is currently undergoing development as a world class resort. As of March 27, 1999, the golf course was completed and is now open, The skating rink, picnic area, and the mini golf course at the Scout Hill area are likewise open.

Asin Hot Spring

Located 16 kilometers northwest of Baguio, the resort's main feature is a swimming pool surrounded by thermal springs, lush vegetation and several hanging bridges. It is an ideal respite. This is now eyed to be redeveloped into a tourism resort along with the adjoining tourist attractions of Tuba and Baguio.

Bell Church

The-Bell-Church-of-Baguio-CityThis cluster of temples is located on the border of Baguio City and Trinidad Valley. Its exotic oriental architecture, pagodas roof, ornate gateway, dragon ornaments and Buddha - guarded windows gaze from atop a hill. The Bell Temple priest practices a mixture of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Christianity. One may even try having his fortune told.

Burnham Park

Burnham-Park-BaguioIt is the oldest of all Baguio parks. One can unwind from the tension of the day-to-day bustle by biking, skating or simply reflecting on the day's experiences amid a soothing garden backdrop of colorful flowers. It is thickly wooded and is a great place to have picnics and concerts. There are tennis and basketball courts, a football field, athletic oval and an orchidarium.

Mines View Park

Mines-View-Park-Baguio-CityAppropriately named for its breathtaking view of Benguet's mountain ranges where gold, silver and other ores were once quarried. There are souvenir shops around the park offering such items as woodcarvings, woven cloth, ashtrays, shell products and other curio items.

Wright Park

It is sometimes mistakenly called "Ride Park" by some that identify this pine tree park reserve for kiddy horse rides. A long stairway leads to the "Pool of the Pines", a 100 meter long pool of water lined on both sides by the famous Baguio towering pine.