Gacad: Gold mining and the development of Baguio (Part 3)

THE material benefits that accrued to Baguio City from mining operations were the result of sustained increases in revenue. E. J. Halsema, a long time mayor of Baguio, summarized in statistical terms the great strides in the development of the city: 45 kilometers of asphalted roads have been built, three kilometers a year, and two kilometers of concrete sidewalk laid.

The city is accommodated with five telephone switches, instead of the single one it had in 1919. Cedula taxes of P1,100.50 in 1919 upped to P6,126 in 1934; real property taxes upped from P3,584.72 in 1919 to P56,049.30 in 1934; receipts from the Baguio Bus Line upped from P22,478.91 in 1919 to P33,080.13 in 1934.

In 1919 the city quarry turned out 5,084.5 cubic meters of crushed rock for P8,435; the 1934 output was four times as much, for P23,213.45. Other comparisons: cattle registration fees, from P526 to P3,859; telephone system, from P13,030.38 to P41,388.06; and service expenses including depreciation charges, from P10,833.60 to P18,587.09; which is to say, four times the 1919 revenue for less than twice the 1919 cost.

Electric plant light revenue, from P56,386.13 to P193,74.10; and expenses of service including depreciation charges from P37,642.27 to P48,923.45; which is to say, revenue tripled with the addition of only 50 percent to the expenses of operation. Ice plant revenue, from P7,324.83 to P19,284.10; and expenses of service including depreciation charges, from P7,072.52 (leaving practically no net gain at all) to P12,657.70 (leaving net gain of more than P6,000).

Water system revenue, from P17,604.92 to P79,927.81; and expenses of service including depreciation charges, from P43,032.31 to P29,434.15; which is to say, an operating deficit of more than P26,000 in 1919, and operating profit of P50,000 in 1934.

City market revenue from P13,559.55 to P60,600.10; and expenses from P7,392.72 to P27,369.67; net revenue in 1919, about P6,000, and in 1934, about P43,000. Slaughterhouse revenue, from P4,281.07 to P15,684.55; and expenses including depreciation charges, from P3,626.03 to P5,460.88; net revenue in 1919, about P800, in 1934, about P10,000.

Revenue from concrete pipes, from P8,046 to P21,526.90; and expenses, from P5,215.06 to P15,441.58; net revenue in 1919, about P2,750, and in 1934, about P6,000.

Building permits were 22 in 1919, 200 in 1934. The cost estimated for buildings built in 1919 was P130,000, and P404,743 for buildings built in 1934. Figures for passengers travelling Kennon Road are 8,871 for 1921, against 95,868 during 1934 or an increase of 10 to one.

Births registered in 1919 were 77, against 554 in 1934; marriages registered in 1919 were 56 against 144 in 1934. Deaths registered were 98, against 288 in 1934. Births increased 10 to one, deaths two and a half to one, indicating both rapidly growing population and improving general health conditions. Police effected 578 arrests in 1919, 989 in 1934; by comparison on basis of population, peace and order improved. A number of statistics reveal the growth population; 3 times as many garbage cans used, two and a half times the 1919 number of light consumers and water consumers, truck and automobile registrations up from 60 in 1919 to 1,329 in 1934.

The extent of first class roads doubled from 38.9 kilometers to 75.9 kilometers. Maintenance of park lands and monuments rose from P4,516.95 to P24,135.84; and expenditures for roads, bridges and sidewalks rose from P9,282.86 to P99,222.29; and the city, P46,000 in debt in 1919, now has no debt at all.

The unprecedented growth of the Baguio district was thus propelled by a burgeoning mining industry. The gold boom had a distinct impact on the volume of traffic, passenger as well as freight, on the Kennon and Naguilian roads. It built up pressure on the communications system, pushed public utility construction to new levels, and radically changed the landscape of the city.