GSIS Tree Park eludes city own­er­ship

Sun.Star Baguio - - Front Page - Sun*Star Re­porter Maria Elena Cata­jan

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.

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