3,000 sign petition vs Burnham parking lot

OVER 3,000 people have opposed the City Council's plan to set up a parking lot at Burnham Park in Baguio City.

In a petition posted on change.org on August 9, the petitioners, "Baguio We Want Forum," said "the park is for people, not for cars."

At least 3,268 people have signed the petition. The group was joined by civil society organizations and "concerned citizens who wish to put on record our vigorous objection to the construction of any vehicle parking structure within the Burnham Park Reservation."

The plan was made in the City Council via a resolution introduced by Councilors Benny Bomogao, Michael Lawana, and Faustino Olowan.

The councilors want a "podium car parking" constructed in Baguio City, "particularly at the area of Ganza, in between Orchidarium and the Children’s Park, former Pantranco and the whole stretch of the City Library."

Lawana said the resolution is an initial move, and plans and designs still have to be reviewed.

Olowan said he welcomes the opposition made online.

The online petition stated that "the proposed podium car park in the area of Burnham Park is the anti-thesis of what park should be. It poses a continuing threat to the shrinking green spaces in Baguio City and will cause adverse consequences to the heritage, culture, health and well-being of the people."

It noted reasons in sparing the park from housing a parking lot, citing "Burnham is an aquifer, an important source of water in the city with diminishing water supply and been declared as significant historical site by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines."

"Burnham Park also hosts various activities, including sports, family picnics, and cultural events and has been witness to many important events in the City of Baguio, including the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1981, and during the devastating earthquake in 1990, as it was the only area large enough to hold temporary shelters for the victims," the petitioners added.

They said setting up a parking lot will contribute to global warming, "because it will encourage the use of more carbon-emitting, pollution producing vehicles and it will further reduce the city’s heat-absorbing non-concrete surface moisture."

The petitioners also said that Burnham is a park reservation, a recreation ground.

"Management, maintenance and administration of Burnham Park by the City Government of Baguio is limited by law so it 'cannot encumber, mortgage or alienate any portion of the Park and use thereof shall be limited only to recreation and tourism-related activities.' The construction and operation of a podium car park would be in violation of this provision," the group said.

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