BAGUIO CITY – The city government should take over the management and operation of the tennis courts at the Baguio Athletic Bowl for proper implementation of regulations in the facility in cooperation with the Baguio Tennis Club.
This was the recommendation of the three-man committee which Mayor Mauricio Domogan created to look into the complaints lodged by some parents on alleged gambling activities and insufficiency of training time given to tennis athletes at the tennis court.
The team composed of city legal officer Melchor Carlos Rabanes represented by Attorney III Isagani Liporada, city environment and parks management office assistant department head Ruben Cervantes and secretary to the mayor Rafael Tallocoy found out that while the city tasked the BTC to manage and operate the courts by virtue of Resolutions No. 106 series of 76 and 24 series of 1980, this was not consummated as there was no management contract executed between the parties.
This leaves the city as the lawful overseer of the tennis courts in compliance with its responsibilities as the administrator of Burnham Park and all its facilities as per Executive Order No. 224 series of 1995 and Executive Order No. 695 series of 2008.
The team suggested that “a special committee which includes a member of the BTC who has the expertise in managing, maintaining and operating the facility, be formed to draw up plans for the eventual City-led management, operation, maintenance and development of the facility as part of the Baguio Sports Complex.”
The committee said that a city-led management of the facility would ensure proper implementation of laws prohibiting gambling and smoking in the area which the BTC cannot enforce albeit it may impose warnings and sanctions on its club members.
The team however clarified that the city take-over “does not mean dissolution of the BTC” but rather should “empower and aid BTC in realizing its goals.”
“The importance of maintaining the BTC as an independent organization tasked to develop the sport and to train local athletes can never be too overemphasized with the passage of Ordinance No. 20 series of 2016 (The Baguio-based Athletes and Coaches Incentives and Benefits Ordinance) which requires among others membership in an accredited sports club or organization operating within the (city)… to qualify athletes and coaches to benefits enumerated in the measure,” the body noted.
At the course of the investigation, BTC representatives admitted the following: that some their members play card games while waiting for their turn to play but denied knowledge of bets being made; that some members smoke and thus a smoking area was even identified; and that some members engage in drinking of liquor and “minus one” singing sprees in the area.
On the use of facility by the athletes, Dr. Fernando Eleponga of the city schools division said none of the coaches corroborated the reported incident while he confirmed that the BTC has been extending free assistance to the athletes during practices./Aileen P. Refuerzo