Monday, December 5, 2011

WWF-BPI Research Assessment Report

Baguio City is the country’s summer capital no more while Davao becomes the Philippines’ new business capital …

Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) in partnership with World Wide Fund - Philippines (WWF-Phil) has recently released the results of a one year data gathering research on selected key cities that will impact business, environmental, and socio-economic conditions caused by a global concern on the worsening climate change.

This research, entitled Business Risk Assessment and the Management of Climate Change Impacts, has identified four key cities in the Philippines that have been tagged as most vulnerable: Baguio City, Cebu City, IloIlo City, and Davao City. The research used three vector analyses to gauge the level of vulnerability as a city, climate and environmental exposure, socio-economic sensitivity and adaptive capacity. The scope of these analyses has a historical data of more than 20 years within the period of 1990 to 2010.

As a result, among the cities identified, Baguio City has been placed in the highest risk. Looking back in history, Baguio City was built by the famous architect and city planner Daniel Burnham in the 1900s to be a rest and recreational place for American Soldiers who want to have a feel of the cool weather of the US without necessarily going stateside. In the original plan, the city was designed for a population of 25,000 and not to the extent of what Baguio now has which is over 300,000 people crowding a 57.5 square kilometer land area. Among the four cities, Baguio is the most densely populated.

Due to its cool climate, Baguio also has the highest rainfall that subsequently caused countless landslides, soil erosions and sink-holes resulting from underground erosions. For thousands of years, this city, located 1,500 meters above sea level, continues to experiencing extreme flooding.

With these worsening problems of the city, business and socio economic conditions also declined. Although for many years, Baguio has been noted to be the most popular destination in the country, tourism has now declined to 25%. The city is accessible with only three roads namely Marcos Highway, Naguilian Road and Kennon Road which are all prone to landslides. In addition, the city doesn’t have an airport. Ironically, the city’s local government has made it a priority to promote tourism as its primary revenue despite the decline and even if the present structure of the city can no longer support it. However, agricultural capacity has been sustained although produced in the outskirts of town such as Trinidad and Naguilian but they are not prioritized by the LGU.

Among the four cities identified, Davao City came out to be the least vulnerable and has proven to have more room for improvement. To begin with, the city does not have any recorded typhoon in hundreds of years. It also has the lowest crime rate and has a systematized area development. Among the four cities, Davao has the highest immigration percentage both residential and business because of its promising and lucrative opportunities. Even with tourism up by 75%, the city considers local industries as a priority for growth and revenue. The city also has an international airport and seaports to cater to international trades. There are even Asian countries in the far south using the ports of Davao as their export entry and not the Manila ports. With the bright future Davao is now facing, it won’t be too long before it becomes the country’s new business capital.
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