If elected, Villar vows to make Baguio smell of pine again
By Nikko Dizon
Philippine Daily Inquirer
BAGUIO CITY—Seemingly dismayed by what this city had become, thanks to rapid development that has cost Baguio even the scent of pine trees, Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Sen. Manuel Villar vowed to allocate the “necessary resources” to help this summer capital “regain its prominence” if elected to office.
“We know Baguio looks very different now…I believe we can bring back its beauty,” Villar told reporters in a press conference at La Trinidad, Benguet, where he and other NP candidates visited the vegetable trading post before heading for this city.
Under a Villar administration, he said he would spearhead the re-greening of Baguio with pine trees and proposed that e-jeepneys or electronic jeepneys be made to ply the city’s roads not only to reduce pollution but to serve as an added tourist attraction.
“Tourism and the environment go hand in hand. We have to clean the air in Baguio because pollution is a deterrent to tourism which provides jobs and livelihood opportunities in the city,” he said in a separate statement.
Villar said funding for an e-jeepney project could be tapped from the Development Bank of the Philippines or the National Development Corp.
“The local government can take the lead in securing the funding to establish fleets of e-jeeps but the national government under my leadership will commit the necessary resources for Baguio City,” he said.
He pledged to give priority to Baguio City, and northern Luzon, in the government’s tourism promotions and marketing campaigns.
At the press conference, Villar said Baguio and Tagaytay City were his two favorite tourist spots in the country.
The self-made billionaire said he owned a huge nursery of pine trees and added that he had long studied Baguio’s re-greening.