The Urban Vibrancy
Baguio's economy thrives on tertiary economic activities particularly dependent on commerce and services that equally support the growing tourism industry. These activities generate substantial income for the city from business taxes as well as employment. The latest recorded number of legitimate economic and business establishments totals more or less in 13,055 2004. The three most dominant economic activities are as follows, 45.48 % are in retail trade; followed by real estate business with 20.82 %, and, 15.37 % in the service establishments. 1,677 business establishments ceased operations or changed management.
Small and Medium Scale Industries
There are also small and medium scale industries and various handicrafts in the city. These are distinctive crafts that provide economic opportunities for various ethnic groups. These indigenous products continue to lure tourists because of the superior craftsmanship and personal touch in production. Some of these crafts are woodcarving, basketry and textile weaving. Expansion of the medium scale production of other products as metal craft, particularly of brass and silver wares, garments' production especially of knitted items, food processing that includes strawberries, peanuts, and pastry products. Ceramic making is also finding its niche in the city's growing economy.
Financial institutions continue to increase in the City. There are now 208 banks and other financial institutions that cater to the need of both residents and tourists compared to 2003 which only have 198.
Philippine Export Processing Zone
The presence of the Philippine Export Zone Authority (PEZA) has greatly enhanced the dynamics of the City's economy. There are 7 locators in the zone and most are multinational corporations compared to 2002 wherein there were 15 locators.
In 2004, the total value of exports generated by PEZA locators reached $2.94 billion. Texas Instruments, Philippines Inc. is the most prominent among the multi-national corporations nationwide. It has not only excelled in quality production but is a model workplace with good management practices. It is the consistent top producer and highest individual dollar earner among all PEZA locators for the past 5 years.
Non-PEZA exports during the year under review accounted for 1.169 million lower than the previous year which was pegged at 1.386 million.
Baguio City is endowed with a rich natural environment. Its average temperature is 19.7 degrees Celsius, much cooler than its lowland neighbors. The mountainous topography provides a wide array of scenic vistas and delightful panorama. It is located right in the heart of the Cordillera Region
Being strategically located, it serves as a stopover point and gateway for those bound for the Cordilleras. The presence of world-class facilities like the Club John Hay and Baguio Country Club including their golf courses continue to attract tourists. Other facilities that cater to tourists are also available. Tourist traffic continues to increase from 542,295 in 1995 to 986,230 in 2000. Based on studies, a tourist spends an average of P2,500.00 daily per visit into the city.
Education is one of the more developed sectors in the city. In fact, Baguio boasts of a very high literacy rate of 97.64 percent much higher than the national rate of 83.8 %. Baguio is considered as the "Citadel of Higher Leaning in the North". There are 168 educational facilities for all levels; of these are 15 post secondary facilities, 7 schools offering contemporary curriculum on computer technology. The high passing rate of graduates in regulatory examinations attests to the quality of graduates and eventually redounds to more highly qualified/motivated labor force.
Moreover, because of the city's strategic location and the abundance of qualified manpower, the city performs the vital role as the regional center of the CAR. To date there are regional offices in the City employing sizable convention/conference facilities and large tracts of properties in the city. (Teachers' Camp-DECS, Secretary's Cottages, Military Reservations, etc.) These properties also serve as Convention facilities that also cater to the private sector.
Baguio's prominence as a major urban center has evolved a multiplicity of roles (Regional Administrative Center, Commercial Trading, Industrial, Educational and Tourism). These provide socio-economic opportunities and are pull-factors for immigration. There are recorded 9,907 legitimate businesses operating in the city. With the very limited industrial activities offshoots limited employment opportunities, which employs about 42% of the labor force and generates around P2.5 B in Philippine Export Zone Authority (PEZA) located at Loakan, with its 12 multi-national locators can only employ 5,000 direct and indirect employees. Texas Instruments Philippines, Inc. accounts for 3,000 or 60% of the PEZA workforce. The services sector is still the biggest employment generator that accounts for 61% of the total labor force. The city's total exports reached $2,863,163,603.68 in 2000, growing at an average annual rate of 24.37 % from the 1995 level of $948,547,000.00.
On the other hand, the city will continue to serve as the commercial and retail trade center for professional services. The planned expansion of ShoeMart/Robinsons as well as the development of the City Public Market will provide more opportunities for further economic growth.
The city has a very well placed health delivery services. There are eight private and public hospitals operating in the city that caters to the needs of the population as well as those coming from other provinces. Health care delivery services are being maintained thru the operation of 8 Health District Centers, 8 Sub-District Health Centers and 8 Satellite Health Centers.
The impressive growth of financial establishments in the city indicates a stable financial situation. There are 201 banks and other financial institutions located in the city from only 14 such establishments in 1995. These financial institutions act as intermediaries between depositors and borrowers. Loans granted by banks are of several types depending upon the function of the bank.
The presence of a very cooperative private and NGO community in the city proved successful. Inter-Municipal coordination and Area Wide Planning efforts (BLIST, QUAD Master Plans) include Baguio as focal point of certain developments. The Department of Tourism has considered the city as a tourist hub under the Wonders of the World program.
The present leadership is determined to pursue the City's role as a major tourism hub and an environmental laboratory in an urban setting.
The city continues to strengthen its local and international relations/sisterhood with cities as a venue to for further exchanges in the fields of local governance, economic, cultural as well as technical development.
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