Moratorium on hotels sought

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

BAGUIO City Councilor Leandro Yangot recently filed a proposed ordinance calling a moratorium on the construction of hotels and inns in the Summer Capital to protect the city's remaining water resources.

Yangot said in his ordinance it is a declared policy of the local government to manage its water resources as embodied in the Water Code.

The councilor said records show approximately 70 percent of the city's land area are already developed with the construction of residential and commercial buildings and various improvements while only 30 percent are covered by watersheds with grown pine trees, production of pine stands and brush lands.


But he said, almost half of these areas are denuded, occupied or cultivated resulting in the present constraints to fully satisfy the increasing water demand of the residents of the city.

The city's existing watersheds remain as the recharge areas of water sources and supplying the water needs of the city’s populace. In most barangays supplied by Baguio Water District, water is supplied on a twice a day basis and sometimes not followed.

“While we welcome more improvements and developments to further boost the tourism industry in the City, we must take cognizance of the sustainability of adequate and affordable water supply to support the water needs of our city’s inhabitants,” the councilor said in his ordinance.

At present, commercial buildings such as hotels, apartment-hotels or apartels, motels, inns and the like definitely are among the businesses which consume large amount of water because of its nature of business, he added.

The councilor also explained the city already has adequate hotels, apartels, motels and inns that adding more commercial buildings with the same purpose will definitely contribute to the scarcity of water in the city.

He however explained the legislative measure is being advanced purposely not to totally ban the construction of commercial buildings but to give the city government ample time to resolve the city’s existing water woes.

Based on the proposed ordinance, any person, natural or juridical found to have violated the moratorium will be penalized by a standard fine of P5,000 and/or imprisonment of not more than 3 months but not less than 1 month, or both fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the Court.

The City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO), The Baguio City Police Office (BCPO), City Licensing Division, and the 128 Barangays in the City of Baguio will be tasked to monitor strict implementation of the ordinance once passed by the august body.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 14, 2014.

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