BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan claimed that officials of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) are allegedly misinformed on the plan of the local government to maximize the use of existing parking spaces to provide additional parking areas for the increasing number of motor vehicles in the city which is an offshoot of the robust growth of its tourism industry.
The local chief executive claimed it is unfair for the NHCP to come out with a sweeping statement that the local government plans to build a multi-level parking building within Burnham Park which is reportedly a protected cultural property under the rules of the said Commission, saying that NHCP must first send its representatives to the city to look into the matter before issuing a sweeping statement against the project.
He explained that the Ganza area has been a designated parking area within the Burnham Park for decades now and the local government simply plans to put up a multi-level parking structure over the parking area to accommodate more vehicles to park and lessen the parking of vehicles along streets that contribute to the worsening traffic congestion around the central business district area.
Earlier, Dr. Rene R. Escalante, NHCP chairman, wrote Mayor Domogan reminding him that Burnham Park is a protected cultural property and that the design for the put up of a multi-level parking structure within the park must be approved by the Commission prior to implementation.
Domogan explained there is no debate on the declaration of Burnham Park as a historical site but its declaration must pass through the necessary consultations with the stakeholders so that the things that must be done and the things that are not allowed to be done must be outlined in the declaration to prevent further complications off the issue in the future.
He challenged the NHCP to send the Commission’s representatives to the city for them to discuss on the matter and not for the Commission to simply intervene in the legitimate affairs of the local government which is intended to provide the residents and visitors stress free and convenient travel around the city.
Domogan pointed out that he does not want the problem in the construction of the city hall stage to be repeated in the case of the Burnham Park parking project that is why it is best for the NHCP to validate the reports being brought to their attention before coming out with conclusive statements that tend to affect the momentum of local governments in the implementation of their desired project geared towards the benefit of the general welfare of the people.
He claimed that he will respond to the NHCP letter to clarify their misconceptions about the city’s parking project within an existing parking area that was designated as a parking area for several decades now and for the local government to request the conduct of the necessary dialogue among the concerned parties to prevent confusions on the issues surrounding the implementation of the noble project.
By Dexter A. See