BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong ordered the City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO), in coordination with other offices of the local government, to introduce the appropriate innovations to improve the state of Burnham Park in the next three months to sustain its identity as the city’s premier park located at the heart of the city.
The city chief executive inspected the different parts of the park recently and raised the observation that it is not properly maintained considering the sorry state of most portions of the park.
Magalong will be meeting with bicycle concessionaires late next week to discuss the issues and concerns confronting the operation of bicycles in the area that needs to be reduced considering it is not safe to bike in the congested bicycle area designated for the said purpose.
City Environment and Parks Management Officer Ruben Cervantes said the local government is heavily subsidizing the operation of the park with the city is shelling out more than P30 million annually to augment the over P40 million generated from the concessions in the different parts of the park for its upkeep.
He disclosed that some 99 personnel, working in two shifts, are assigned to maintain the order and cleanliness in the different parts of the park to ensure the areas frequented by people are clean and safe to help entice more people to patronize the park.
Executive Order No. 224, series of 1995 which was signed by former President Fidel V. Ramos transferred the administration, maintenance and operation of the 34-hectare Burnham Park complex to the local government with an annual subsidy of some P18 million from the former Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA).
However, the annual subsidy was unreasonably reduced to P10 million until it was totally scrapped in 2000 leaving burden to the local government to solely shoulder the expenses for the administration, maintenance and operation of the city’s premier park.
On September 1, 2009, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Executive Order No. 695 which enhanced Executive Order No. 224 on the local government’s power to administer, maintain and operate the park which was the former Chief Executive’s gift to the city when it celebrated its centennial founding anniversary.
Magalong also directed the concerned offices to prepare the required comprehensive master development plan of the park taking into consideration previous plans prepared by public and private institutions for the local government to be able to craft the annual and strategic plans in the maintenance and operation of Burnham Park.
The Burnham Park complex includes the Rose Garden, the Orchidarium, the Ibaloi heritage garden, children’s park, bicycle area, the famous Burnham Lake, Melvin Jones football ground, Ganza parking area, picnic groove, former old auditorium and city library, Baguio Athletic Bowl, Pine Trees of the World, Lion’s Club among other strategic areas.
By Dexter A. See
Photo by Armando M. Bolislis