BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan underscored that there is no approved development plans for the old city auditorium, a prime area within the Burnham Park complex, saying that whatever will be the agreed plans for the area will pass through the prescribed processes.
While it is true that the development of the old city auditorium was previously approved by the City Development Council (CDC), the local chief executive explained there are no approved details plans yet for whatever type of development that will be undertaken in the area considering the need for the local government to undertake the appropriate processes before the eventual approval of the type of project in the prime property.
Executive Order No. 224 issued by former President Fidel V. Ramos in February 1995 as amended by Executive Order No. 695 issued by former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo sometime in 2009 allows the introduction of development projects within the identified developable areas within the 34-hectare Burnham Park complex to make the government property a self-sustaining park.
“The local government was able to receive a number of proposals on what type of development will be introduced in the old city auditorium and other parts of the park but the same are mere proposals that have not yet been officially given the stamp of approval because of the need to conduct the appropriate processes that will include consultations prior to implementation,” Domogan stressed.
He stated the city continues to entertain proposals by the private sector on what type of development will be undertaken in the area that is why it is unfair for some sectors to conclude that there is already an approved development plan for the area.
According to him, the site of the old auditorium is considered to be a prime area, thus, multi-level parking alone will not be a feasible investment considering that what is being considered for the property is mixed development so that prospective investors will be able to maximize the use of the property for parking and other forms of tourism-related businesses like restaurants, amusement center, hotel among others.
Domogan emphasized that the local government is heavily subsidizing the operation of Burnham Park through the use of its internally generated resources after the national government stopped providing the annual subsidy for the operation, administration and maintenance of the park.
Of the over P40 million operational expenses for the park, only 16 to P18 million is being raised through the lease rentals being paid by concessionaires of the park.
Previously, Burnham Park was under the management, administration and operation of the Department of Tourism through the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) now known as the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) but it was subsequently turned over to the local government as a locally managed park considering that it is one of the premier tourist destinations located at the heart of the city.
By Dexter A. See