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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Baguio Mayor Apologizes For Strawberry Gaffe

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BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Benjamin Magalong apologized to the La Trinidad, Benguet officialdom and constituents for what he described as uncalled for statements that are damaging to the neighboring town and their product.

“I was emphasizing that we in Baguio are guilty of polluting Balili River that flows down to the municipality, that we have a social responsibility to address it and that we are going to do something about it so that they will have cleaner water but in my desire to drive home that point, I came up with uncalled for statement that I should have not said at all.  I was wrong and I apologize,” the mayor said.

In the Jan. 10 consultation with the heads of the Depts. of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources and the Interior and Local Government, Magalong talked of the city’s urgent need to rehabilitate its sewerage system to address the pollution of the Balili River of which coliform level had run into quadrillions.

He then said this adversely affects the town including its strawberry produce being irrigated by with the water from the filthy water source.

Realizing his mistake, the mayor immediately apologized to La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda through a text message: “Good afternoon Manong Romy.  My apologies if you felt slighted with my pronouncement regarding Balili River and strawberry farm. I believe it was uncalled for. I will make amends.”

Salda acknowledged Magalong’s apology but sought to correct the implications of the statement in interviews with the local media where he reportedly said, “there is no irrigation from Balili River going to the swamp area where the strawberry farms are” and that they “have a source from the creek from Pico and Puguis but none from Balili River.”

La Trinidad Tourism Officer Valred Olsim reportedly appealed to officials of the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) to be cautious in issuing statements to avoid putting neighbors in a bad light. – PIO Baguio

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