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Baguio City – The city government disclosed the State-owned Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) is ready to download the P480 million earlier approved by the agency to the city purposely for the proposed development of the 34-hectare Burnham Park complex to improve the state of one of the city’s major tourist destination.
Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong said the city government received a notice from TIEZA on the readiness of the agency to initially download to the city some P400 million to jumpstart the proposed development of Burnham Park while the remaining P80 million will be downloaded later.
However, he disclosed the TIEZA is simply waiting the submission by the city government of the duly approved architectural design of the proposed development of the city’s premier park before the agency will process the downloading of the funds to the city’s coffers after which there will be the required processes for the implementation of the developments in the park.
Last year, the TIEZA board approved the request of the city government for the provision of some P480 million from the tourism agency purposely to bankroll the proposed development of Burnham park to make the city’s premier park a world-class tourism facility enticing more foreign and domestic visitors to visit the city and contribute in efforts to spur the city’s economic growth.
The city chief executive claimed the park will not be closed to the public once the development projects will be implemented as the same will be done in phases pursuant to the programmed plans and specifications contained in the detained engineering and design to be crafted for the said purpose.
Among the areas in Burnham Park to be improved include the Melvin Jones football field, the Burnham Lake, the Rose Garden, the biking area, children’s park, Ibaloi heritage garden, skating rink, and portions of the Baguio Athletic Bowl.
Concerned offices of the city government are now fastracking the completion of the requirements imposed by the TIEZA board to facilitate the initial downloading of the approved funds for the development of the park after the completion of the required processes pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 9184 or the Government Procurement Act.
The Burnham Park is under the administration, management and operation of the city government pursuant to the provisions of Executive Order No. 224, series of 1995, issued by former President Fidel V. Ramos and Executive Order No. 695, series of 2009, issued by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Prior to its turnover to the city government, Burnham Park was under the administration, management and operation of the National Parks Development Committee under the former Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA), now known as the TIEZA.
Previously, the PTA had been providing an annual subsidy to the city government for the management and operation of the city’s premier park but the same was eventually scrapped for still unknown reasons that left the city solely in charge of providing the funds for the maintenance and operation of the park through the years.
By Dexter A. See
Photo by Armando M. Bolislis