BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan underscored that the administration, operation and management of Burnham Park will be better under the local government compared to the proposed return of the city’s premier park to the tourism department.
The local chief executive pointed out that the primary reason why the administration, operation and management of Burnham Park was turned over to the local government pursuant to Executive Order (EO) No. 224, series of 1995 issued by former president Fidel V. Ramos and EO 695 issued by former President and now house Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was the fact that the park was not properly maintained when it was under the jurisdiction of the Philippine Tourism Authority – National Parks Development Committee (PTA-NPDC0 that compelled former local officials to raise issues on how the park is being managed.
He emphasized that the local government continues to heavily subsidize the administration, operation and management of Burnham Park over the past several years after the tourism department failed to provide the supposed annual subsidy that it is mandated to provide the local government to ensure the sustainable operation of the city’s premier tourist destination.
“It is still best that the management of Burnham Park will remain with the local government because we know what should be done to at least maintain its status as the city’s premier park and the most frequented place in the city,” Domogan stressed.
He disclosed that the local government is spending over P42 million annually to administer, operate and manage the park but it is only generating close to P18 million from the concessionaires of the different park facilities that is why the rest of the funds come from other sources of revenues of the city without even introducing a significant infrastructure within the premier tourist destination of the city.
Under the provisions of EO 224, series of 1995, the PTA-NPDC was supposed to provide an annual subsidy of P18 million to the local government for the administration, management and operation of Burnham Park which was eventually reduced to only P10 million until the grant of the subsidy reportedly stopped for still undisclosed reasons.
According to him, the local government is sacrificing some of its available resources just to ensure that the management and operations of Burnham Park will be implemented pursuant to existing laws, rules and regulations that is why its proposed return to the national government specifically the Tourism infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) is not actually the solution to the problems being encountered in the operation of the facilities of the park.
Burnham parks plays host to the famous orchidarium, Rose garden, Igorot garden, Melvin jones football ground and grandstand, Burnham lake, skating rink, bicycle area, picnic groove, old city auditorium, children’s playground, Baguio City library, Baguio Athletic Bowl, Pine Trees of the World, portions of the Baguio City National High School (BCNHS), Lion’s Clubhouse, among other scenic tourist spots.
The bust of Arch. Daniel Burnham, the American architect who planned Baguio city for only 25,000 inhabitants, is also erected in a strategic portion of the park that serves as an added attraction for residents and visitors alike./Dexter A. See