Status quo for Burnham Park lease contracts okayed

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City officials approved the observance of status quo ante on all Burnham Park lease contracts or month-to-month extension until the final Burnham Park development plan is ready for execution and implementation by government agencies and the local government.

Under Resolution No. 557, series of 2021, local legislators underscored that business activities within the various portions of Burnham Park contribute in the enhancement of the local economy and provide sustainable employment to some of  residents.

However, the council requested the city’s Local Finance Committee to make an in-depth study on issues raised by the Burnham Park lessees and submit its recommendations to the body to inform the enactment of the appropriate legislation governing these matters.

The council anchored its latest decision on Section 16 of Republic Act (RA) 7160 or the Local Government Code as amended, which provides that local government units, within their respective territorial jurisdictions, shall ensure and support, among other things, the enhancement of economic prosperity and social justice, promotion of full employment among their residents, and the preservation of the comfort and convenience of their inhabitants.

Further, Section 458 paragraph (a) of the said Code, provides that the Sangguniang Panlungsod as the legislative body of the city, shall enact ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate funds for the general welfare of the city and its inhabitants.

Earlier, concerned Burnham Park lessees raised issues ranging from the application of their rental rates to those at Session Road and the city public market, tenure of lease of contracts, bidding requirements from current lessees and payment of taxes, deduction of rentals and cancellation of all penalties and interests and condonation of rentals, citing the present pandemic, and pending the implementation of the proposed Burnham Park development plan, and the move by some sectors for Burnham Park to be declared as a national heritage site.

The body commiserates with the situation of the Burnham Park lessees and thus, it is inclined to give them breathing space by according or observing status quo ante on all lease contracts or month-to-month extension until such time that the proposed Burcham Park development plan is ready for implementation.

The city planned to develop portions of the Burnham Park with funding from the State-owned Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), but the earmarked funds for this in 2020 was taken back by the national government to be used as part of the enhancing the government’s response against the rapid spread of the dreaded Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Burnham Park is the premier tourist destination in the Summer Capital that is located right at the heart of the central business district area where it serves as the primary convergence area of both residents and tourists alike. By Dexter A. See

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