BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan supports the proposed declaration of the 34-hectare Burnham Park complex as a national heritage site provided that the corresponding duties and responsibilities of concerned government agencies and the local government will be appropriately delineated to avoid overlapping of functions just like what had been happening in the past.
The local chief executive said the local government does not object to the proposed declaration of Burnham Park as a national heritage site but the law to be crafted for the purpose shall clearly define the duties and responsibilities of the concerned government agencies and the local government who have a stake on the management, operation and administration of the city’s premier park.
“We have to be clear on the specific functions of the concerned government agencies and the local government on the management, administration and operation of the city’s premier tourist destination. We cannot afford to repeat our existing dilemma where there are agencies who continue to interfere with the affairs of the local government over the park,” Domogan stressed.
He claimed that the law to be crafted relative to the park being declared as a national heritage site must clearly outline the specific duties and responsibilities of the Department of Tourism (DOT), National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) among others and the local government on how the affairs of the park will be effectively and efficiently managed for the overall development of the facilities within the area covered by the park.
According to him, what has been happening is that there are some government agencies who continue to interfere in the affairs of the local government on the management, operation and administration of the park which should not be the case considering that executive issuances granting authority to the local government to administer the affairs of Burnham Park runs counter to such interventions.
He claimed the fact is that Burnham Park has not yet been officially declared or marked as a national heritage site that is why the local government continues to be the administrator of the park as provided under existing laws, rules and regulations provided that it will be aligned with the current programs and projects of the tourism department.
The 34-hectare Burnham Park complex is titled under the name of the tourism department but its management, administration and operation was conveyed to the local government by virtue of Executive order No. 224, series of 1995 issued by former President Fidel V. Ramos and enhanced by Executive Order No. 695, series of 2009 issued by former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Burnham Park plays host to the Rose Garden, Igorot Garden, Melvin Jones football ground, orchidarium, children’s playground, Burnham lake, bicycle area, skating rink, picnic groove, old city auditorium, Baguio Athletic Bowl, swimming pool, Lions Club, Pine Trees of the World, Burnham bust, city library among others.
By Dexter A. See