City engages youth in planning Baguio’s future

City engages youth in planning Baguio’s future

The first leg of the city government’s series of Environmental Summit focused on the youth being the future leaders.

Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong challenged the youth to get involved with the city’s plans, programs and projects as he welcomed more than a hundred high school students during the first leg of the Environmental Summit held August 8 at the Baguio Convention Center with the theme, “Leapfrogging Towards Livable Communities.”

“Age should never be a factor in leadership because any decision that we make now will affect the future of the youth.  When you talk to young people; you sense dynamism, innovation, creativity, they talk about change, about making a difference,” the mayor said thus, the need to engage the youth in decision-making.

Presented during the summit are studies from several government agencies on present problems particularly the environmental degradation of the city and carrying capacity issues that begs for holistic solutions from all sectors of the society.

“We are now facing an environmental crisis – urban decay. We encourage the youth to be our partner in decision-making to solve the problems of urban growth, environmental degradation and urban planning lapses. Your active voice and presence are greatly needed as it is your future. Hand-in-hand, side-by-side we will be moving forward,” the mayor said.

Magalong said urban decay is when the city’s environment can no longer support the residents comfortably, when there is shortage in water and green spaces, when the forest area is slowly diminishing, when people experience air pollution, when people get stuck in traffic and when garbage disposal is becoming costly.

“These signs of urban decay are already being manifested in many parts of our city. We need the youth as our strong partners in raising awareness about urban decay, protecting and conserving our environmental resources,” the mayor said.

The challenge, he said, is not just to reverse urban decay but to root out the causes and implement immediate solutions that will eventually guide the city government on the right track to a better Baguio that people deserve.

City managers are currently exploring what would be the best strategy for population management vis-à-vis the plan towards a livable city. The mayor said city departments are currently auditing Baguio’s situation – its people and resources hoping to arrive at viable solutions through updated land use and zoning with a local action plan on climate change and disasters as well as use of technological innovation. – JMPS