BAGUIO City government defends a resolution on improving the Athletic Bowl sponsored by a Korean investor that receives criticisms from the public.

The City Council approved Resolution 515, saying it is a mere proposal. Mayor Reinaldo Bautista Jr. said that nothing is final unless he issues a notice for the project to proceed.

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

The development of the Athletic Bowl by an unidentified group of Korean investors is represented by a certain An Ho Yul. Critics said it would be disadvantageous to the City Government.

"It is just a proposal," the mayor told the reporters in his weekly news briefing Friday even as he admitted he signed the memorandum of agreement (MOA) without meeting the investors.

He added that development would only ensue if it conforms to the design, which will be prepared by the College of Engineering and Architecture of the University of the Cordilleras (UC).

"Nothing has been perfected," the mayor said. He added that the public's rejection of the proposal is premature because as of this time, no work has been started yet.

The mayor said his signing the MOA is to show the council of a proposal for the area's development.

He said the law prohibiting 100 percent ownership of businesses in the country by foreigners has also to be considered.

The mayor recalled that the "group of investors" represented by An Ho Yul came to his office and offered to develop the athletic arena at no cost to the city.

At that time, the P125 million earmarked by the National Government for the improvement of Burnham Park has not been released.

The mayor said he wanted the Athletic Bowl to be developed into a modern sports complex, so he offered it to the investor for improvement.

The opposition, however, might stop this plan, Bautista said. He said the rejection of the plan threatens the investors.

He said there are other investors who want to develop several city-owned facilities but because of strict rules being implemented, many are backing off.

"Be open minded. We are too uptight," the mayor said.

Conditions in the MOA states that the City Government as the first party will lease out the Athletic Bowl to the investor or the second party at a monthly rent of P100,000 for the first five years. For the next five years, lease will increase to P10,000 until its 25th year where the facility will be leased for P140,000.

Aside from the monthly rent, the MOA stipulates for the investor to refurbish and rehabilitate the Athletic Bowl specifically the track and field, which would fit international standards.

Bleachers will also be rehabilitated. Once rehabilitated, bleachers should be able to accommodate not less than 20,000 viewers.

The sports center and indoor games facility function rooms will also have to be constructed in a three-storey building.

A separate four-storey building is also required from the investor. The building will be used as an accommodation facility for guests and athletes.

A driving range with golfing equipment and other related facilities also has to be provided by the investor. (Rimaliza Opiña)