BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said that the local government is open to the possible takeover of the management, operation and administration of the 34-hectare Burnham Park complex by the tourism department but things must be first placed in their proper perspective before pursuing the plan.
The local chief executive underscored that Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo Puyat must first review, assess and evaluate the situation in the past when the city’s premier park was under the jurisdiction of the DOT through the defunct Nation Development Committee (NPDC) because the implementation of projects by the government was criticized by local officials and the people of the city due to alleged lack of consultations and improper prosecution of projects among others.
“The issue on the tourism department taking over the operation, administration and management of Burnham Park is not a big thing on the part of the local government but what should be emphasized is that there should be a through assessment done by concerned tourism officials to look into the prevailing situation of the park before making drastic actions on the matter,” Domogan stressed.
He welcomed the pronouncement of the top tourism official that she will first consult with the local government relative to the said matter before any action will be undertaken to ensure the sustainable development of the city’s premier tourist attraction.
Earlier, Secretary Romulo-Puyat announced that the tourism department is contemplating on taking back the management, operation and administration of Burnham Park from the local government to guarantee its sustainable preservation and protection as a park and a major attraction in the country’s undisputed Summer Capital.
It can be recalled that former President Fidel V. Ramos issued Executive order (EO) No. 224, series of 1995 transferring the management, operation and administration of Burnham Park from the tourism department to the local government of Baguio in response to the clamor of local officials and the people of the city for a holistic implementation of development projects within the park.
Further, EO No. 695, series of 2009 was issued by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo which strengthened the previous executive issuance relative to the operation, administration and management of Burnham Park which was the government’s gift to the people of Baguio City on the occasion of its centennial anniversary.
Domogan stated that he knows the tourism official to be reasonable that is why he is willing to present to her the overall situation in the local government’s operation, administration and management of the park so that she will be fully aware of the real situation on the ground as he expressed concern that she might have been ill-advised on the matter.
He revealed that what is important in the present dispensation is that the Secretary is willing to listen to the issues and concerns of the local government regarding the management of the park so that there will be time for local officials to correct the wrong information that might have reached her.
By Dexter A. See
Banner photo by Armando Bolislis