BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan vehemently condemned the deliberate burning of the city’s own version of a giant Christmas tree that was erected within the Rose Garden Monday night, saying that the act of two still unidentified individuals in torching the tree into ashes is the product of misbehaviour of the said individuals.
The local chief executive ordered the Baguio Fire Department and the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) to fastrack the investigation of the case and ascertain the identities of those responsible for the unfortunate incident for them to be charged with arson and made to suffer the consequences of their actuations.
“We could not understand what went into toe minds of the suspects who burred the city’s Christmas tree. It is clear that the cause of the fire was not due to electric short circuit because the power of the lights were already disconnected several days earlier in reparation for its supposed dismantling this week,” Domogan stressed.
Based on initial estimates from the City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO), the total damage inflicted by the fire to the city’s Christmas tree was pegged at over P120,000.
Domogan called on those who were able to identify the two individuals that immediately fled from the site of the Christmas tree shortly before the fire went out of control to help the arson and police investigators in identifying the said unscrupulous individuals so that the charges will be immediately filed against them for the issuance of the subsequent warrants of arrest against them.
The fire that razed the city’s giant Christmas tree happened at around 8:50 pm Monday and was declared under control by fire-fighters 20 minutes later.
He claimed it is unfortunate that there are still unscrupulous individuals in the city who want to get the attention of the public by destroying government properties through extraordinary means which is not actually being tolerated by the local government.
He said arson and police investigators must make sure that there will be individuals that will be made answerable for the burning of the Christmas tree so that the local government will be able to send a clear message to the public that all those who try to destroy government property will definitely be charged accordingly.
Burnham Park security guards informed probers that witnesses told them that a few seconds prior to the fire, two individuals were seen running away from the site of the giant Christmas tree and were heading towards the direction of the Rizal Park area until they disappeared in the dark.
Arson and police investigators are now reviewing the footages that were recorded by the closed-circuit television cameras in the area to help them identify the culprits of the incident.
CBAO personnel were supposed to remove the decorations that were placed around the Christmas tree for the same to be recycled once the city officials will decide to put in place a similar Christmas tree in the area by December during the celebration of the Yuletide season but the fire totally destroyed the decorations which were supposed to be recycled.
By Dexter A. See