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The State-owned Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) increased its funding for the development of portions of the 34-hectare Burnham Park complex from the previous allocation of P400 million to around P600 million to improve the current state of the city’s premier tourist destination.
Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong requested concerned offices of the city government to finalize the detailed plans and specifications of the projects to be implemented in certain areas of Burnham Park for submission to TIEZA to support the release of the funds when available.
The funding support for the improvement of portions of Burnham Park was a pre-pandemic commitment to the city government by Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo Puyat and TIEZA Chief Operating Officer Mark Lapid.
Earlier, the city government and TIEZA entered into a memorandum of agreement for the latter to provide some P400 million to bankroll high impact projects to be undertaken in some portions of Burnham Park to contribute in efforts to improve the current state of the tourist destination to boost the growth of the local tourism industry.
However, the allocated funds for the proposed Burnham Park development was eventually realigned by the national government to support the comprehensive anti-Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) response during the implementation of the various levels of community quarantine for over a year now.
The local chief executive stated that TIEZA will grant funds that is why the city government will not be obliged to return the amount as this will support the desired improvement of the state of the city’s premier tourist destination.
Initially, the areas proposed to be developed within the P40 million funding support from the TIEZA will include the Melvin Jones football field, the Burnham Park Lake and the children’s park.
With the committed increased funding support by TIEZA, the mayor stipulated there will be more projects to be implemented in certain areas in the park which were included in the proposed P3.2 billion comprehensive master development plan adopted by the local government covering the different sections of the premier tourist destination.
TIEZA officials committed that the funds will be released to the city government to start the implementation of the programmed projects once ongoing restrictions on the movement of people inside the country will be lifted to allow the agency to generate the resources from tourism.
The local legislative body confirmed and approved the Burnham Park comprehensive master development plan that entails some P3.2 billion to fund the implementation of the various projects to improve the current state of the different sections of the complex as an improved tourist attraction once tourism-related activities will be given the go-signal to proceed by the inter-agency task force for the management of emerging infectious diseases.