GSIS Tree Park eludes city ownership
BAGUIO City Mayor Mauricio Domogan said efforts to acquire GSIS Tree Park have been done but to no avail.
“We do not know the stand of the GSIS,” said Domogan adding since the area is owned by the national government agency, the city has no hold over the patch of land, but assured protests will be manifested if it is sold and turned into a commercial area.
Early in the year, Domogan sent a letter to the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) to intimate the intent to buy the lot beside the Baguio Convention Center.
Originally, negotiations started when GSIS informed the city last year the area was up for sale for P433 million which the city in turn, bargained for P350 million.
However, instead of lowering the price, the GSIS upped the tag for the lot to P670 million, which the city cannot afford to purchase.
This week, clamor to preserve the area was rekindled when the University of the Philippines Baguio College of Social Sciences presented two studies showing the current state of the 1.4-hect-
are tree park.
UP Baguio Professor Zenaida Baoanan said the tree park is home to 544 pine trees and 21 Agoho trees, however, a reduction was noted since from 800 pine trees in 2012.
Aside from pine trees, 49 plants were documented with 35 invertebrate species, majority are insects and 24 bird species spotted in the tree park.
The forest park act as microclimate mitigator, and trees trap carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere adding at least 559,719 kilograms of carbon dioxide can be trapped by the 544 pine trees within the park.
The study revealed more than 50 percent of trees are in bad state and infested with fungal infection as the area is being utilized as a bathroom and garbage dump.
Domogan as since appealed to the public not dump garbage in the tree park as well as use it as a makeshift bathroom.
The tree park is beside the Baguio Convention Center which was also acquired from the GSIS through the city’s accumulated share from the lease of the 247-hectare John Hay Special Economic Zone (JHSEZ) held by the state owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) in the amount of P250 million only in 2012.