One of the city’s remaining oldest structures is now up for rehabilitation by a private firm, this was disclosed by Mayor Reinaldo Bautista Jr. during the weekly Ugnayang Panlungsod.
BY CYE REYES
BAGUIO CITY (246 kms. North of Manila) One of the city’s remaining oldest structures is now up for rehabilitation by a private firm, this was disclosed by Mayor Reinaldo Bautista Jr. during the weekly Ugnayang Panlungsod.
Built before 1910, Casa Vallejo served as a German Prisoners of War (POW) detention center in 1917; a hotel in 1923; and a British and Indian refugee center in the 1940s.
It was also one of only two structures, the other is the Baguio Cathedral, that survived the Japanese carpet bombing during World War II in 1941, according to Bautista.
Owned by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Casa Vallejo is now being eyed for a makeover through bidding to private concessionaires.
Bautista reportedly talked to Undersecretary Don Ramon Bagatsing of the Natural Resources Development Corporation (NRDC), an attached agency of the DENR. He learned the said agency expressed its interest to develop the said property along Upper Session Road and would want to get the city’s permission.
“It is good news that the place would now be developed but it still remains a heritage site of Baguio City,” said Bautista, adding that the property is of great sentimental value to the city and its residents. He was hoping Casa Vallejo’s operation as a hotel and its facade would be retained and not to be demolished for another mall or a high-rise building.
City officials earlier asked Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to transfer the ownership of Casa Vallejo to the city government through Resolution 276-2006 authored by Councilors Edilberto Tenefrancia, Erdolfo Balajadia, Pinky Rondez and Antonio Tabora Jr.
The resolution said, “As we prepare to cross the bridge to the city’s centennial, places of historical significance such as Casa Vallejo must be restored to its former glory to guarantee future generations to experience our city’s colorful past.”
Recently, the centennial committee recommended that Casa Vallejo be developed as a centennial museum.
Some concerned city officials are studying the possibility of the city joining the bidding fray if only to protect one of the few remaining American legacies to the people of Baguio.
Meanwhile, the city also has plans to take over other properties owned by national government agencies within the city, like the Baguio Convention Center, Session Road, part of the Bureau of Plant Industry and the dairy farm along Marcos Highway.
“If the plan pushes through, the Bureau of Plant Industry would be converted into a trading post or satellite market while the dairy farm would be developed as a terminal for south-bound public transport facilities,” said Bautista.
Bautista is hoping that at the end of his term these national properties would already be turned over to the city. With a report from Isagani S. Liporada/PIO-Baguio CityNorthern Dispatch/Posted byBulatlat.com