Acting City Mayor Faustino A. Olowan underscored that the local government is willing to return to the national government, particularly the State-owned tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), the administration, management and operation of the 34-hectare Burnham Park once the latter so decides to take the same back from the local government.
Olowan claimed that the local government is the mere administrator of the said park and that it will surely bow down to what the owner will decide on the management and operation of the city’s premier park.
The vice mayor pointed out that the decision of the local government to have Burnham Park be titled in its name was to protect the park from being titled in the name of individuals because of the existence of some persons who are said to be claimants of the park.
Earlier, the local government was able to title in its name more than half of the park while the titling of the remaining park area is still under process.
Olowan asserted that the 34-hectare Burnham park is still owned by the national government, through the TIEZA and that the local government is the administrator that is why when the TIEZA will decide that it will take back the administration, management and operation of the park from the city, then it can do so and that the local government is also willing to return the same being an obedient administrator.
Executive Order No. 224, series of 1995 issued by former President Fidel V. Ramos turned over the administration, management and operation of Burnham Park from the former Philippine tourism Authority – National Parks Development Committee (PTA-NPDC) with a supposed annual subsidy of P18 million.
Further, Presidential Proclamation No. 695, series of 2009 was issued by former President and now House senior Deputy Majority Floor Leader Gloria Macapagal Arroyo that enhanced the aforesaid presidential issuance to allow the local government to have full control on the operation of the city’s premier park.
Olowan explained that whatever issues and concerns that were raised by TIEZA on the titling of Burnham Park in the name of the local government will be threshed out in future consultations with the owner of the property but what is important is that the city did the titling in good faith without intending to take the same away from the owner.
He said that the local government is awaiting the response of TIEZA on an earlier letter sent by the local government informing the same of the ongoing efforts of the city to title in its name Burnham Park as part of the initiatives to prevent the park from being claimed and eventually titled by purported claimants.