BAGUIO CITY: The local government has announced that the state-owned Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza) board approved the allocation of some P400 million from the agency’s funds for the improvement and development of the 34-hectare Burnham Park complex to help sustain the robust growth of the local tourism industry.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong said he was called by Tieza chief executive officer Pocholo Paragas to inform him that the board approved some P400 million for the implementation of various projects that will improve and develop various portions of the city’s premier tourist destination, which is located right at the heart of the city.
He added that instead of the earlier P500 million that had been promised by tourism officials for the development of the park, only P400 million was granted by the Tieza board, considering that the P100 million that was deducted from the funding support will be given to other local governments that need the necessary improvement and development of their own tourist attractions to boost the presence of must-see areas in their places.
Magalong said the P100 million that was earmarked for flood control in the park that was deducted from the proposed funding requirement for Burnham Park will be replaced by a similar allocation from the funds of the Department of Public Works and Highways-Baguio City District Engineering Office that will be implemented next year.
Earlier, the local government created a technical working group (TWG) to prepare the comprehensive master development plan of the 34-ha Burnham Park complex with primary consideration of previous plans that were submitted by concerned sectors like the University of the Cordilleras, which donated the supposed master plan of the city’s premier park as its gift to Baguio City when it celebrated its centennial anniversary 10 years ago but the same was not approved.
The Burnham Park comprehensive master development plan was subsequently approved by the local legislative body subject to possible revisions after consultations with concerned stakeholders prior to the implementation of the desired development in various portions of the park.
In 1995, then-President Fidel V. Ramos issued Executive Order 224, which transferred the administration, management and operation of the Burnham Park from the former Philippine Tourism Authority now known as the Tieza to the local government with an annual subsidy of P18 million from the national government.
The subsidy, however, was reduced to P10 million annually until the same was eventually scrapped that left the local government alone in shouldering the more than P40 million required for the decent maintenance of the park.