BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved a resolution requesting the presence of the City Environment and Parks Management Officer and the GMT Interlink Security Agency assigned in Burnham Park to appear during the next regular session of the local legislative body to shed light on the drowning incident in the lake and the swimming incident at the fountain area that were posted in the social media.
The resolution authored by all members of the local legislative body stated that it is the prime duty of the local government to maintain peace and order as well as safety of its constituents in all public places, including parks and recreational areas, thus, there is a need to review the city’s existing policies concerning the operation and maintenance of parks to avert the occurrence of untoward incidents that pose serious threat to the safety and security of the people by inviting representatives of concerned agencies to shed light on the occurrence of untoward incidents that resulted to the loss of lives.
It will be recalled that a 16-year old teenager died while undergoing medical treatment in the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) after he allegedly jumped into the lake for still unknown reasons.
The resolution stated the incident is not considered as a noble one because there was a prior incident that was posed online where a body was fished out from the lake due to alleged drowning in 2011.
Further, the resolution noted photos of children swimming at the Burnham fountain or in a portion of the Rose Garden also posted online which shows the alleged failure of the concerned offices to address the said problems, thus, the need for concerned officers to explain the occurrence of the said incidents.
The resolution stipulated the local legislative measure aims is to explore the possibility of introducing adjustments in the prevailing polices being implemented in the city’s premier park to prevent the occurrence of similar incidents in such places.
Executive Order No. 224, series of 1995 as amended by Executive Order No. 695, series of 2009 transferred the operation, administration and maintenance of the 34-hectare Burnham Park complex to the local government but the city is not authorized to alter, encumber or mortgage certain portions of the park without the expressed authority from the Secretary of the Department of Tourism.
Currently, the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) is investigating why the teenager was forced to jump into the lake despite concerned citizens’ calls for him to swim towards the side of the lake for him to be assisted but instead he swam to the center until he was rescued by responding police officers and was rushed to the BGHMC emergency room where he expired a few hours later.
Local legislators are optimistic that the representatives of the concerned local government offices and the private security agency will appear during their regular session next week to respond to queries that will result to the proposed amendments to the current policies being implemented in the park for the safety of the public./Dexter A. See