AN ONLINE petition has surfaced in opposition to the proposed Dino Park led by the Baguio Heritage Foundation, Inc.
Its board of trustees said “we vehemently oppose the proposed dinosaur park by Thermozone Corp. and aghast that such a proposal should even be considered by city officials and staff - the incongruity of artificial dinosaurs roaming a part of the park seem to escape their aesthetic sense. Changing the Kafagway character of Burnham Park to a Jurassic theme park is incongruous to the centennial character of Baguio City.”
The petition has now acquired thousands of signatures opposing to the plan.
The proposal sent by Thermozone Philippines Corporation's vice president Eduardo Meneses detailed a lease spanning 25 years which is now being studied by the Public Private Partnership for the People Initiative (P4) committee.
Thermozone intends to develop the Pine Trees of the World area into a dinosaur theme park and museum at no cost of the city.
At present, Thermozone operates Dinosaur Island in Clark, Pampanga and in another in nearby Tuba in Benguet, the proposed lease agreement will be initially set for three years at a P60,000 a month rental but increasing to P100,000 if renewed to another 25 years with provisions of a contract review every decade.
“We, the Board of Trustees of and the undersigned concerned citizens and visitors of Baguio City strongly advocate for the preservation of Burnham Park as an open space and that no structure of any kind be constructed above or below any part of Burnham Park,” the petition reads.
The Heritage foundation stated the park has 12 clusters namely Melvin Jones Grandstand, Burnham Lagoon, Children’s Playground, Skating Rink, Rose Garden, Orchidarium, Igorot Garden, Athletic Bowl, Picnic Grove, Japanese Peace Tower, Pine Trees of the World, and Sunshine Park.
“Burnham Park and its 12 clusters have been declared by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines as significant historical site and are therefore subject to the rules of Republic Act 10066 or the Heritage Act,” added the petition.
The RA lists as prohibited acts the following: to the extent that the offense is not punishable by a higher punishment under another provision of law, violations of this Act may be made by whoever intentionally; Destroys, demolishes, mutilates or damages any world heritage site, national cultural treasures, important cultural property and archaeological and anthropological sites and modifies, alters, or destroys the original features of or undertakes construction or real estate development in any national shrine, monument, landmark and other historic edifices and structures, declared, classified, and marked by the National Historical Institute as such, without the prior written permission from the Commission. This includes the designated security or buffer zone, extending five meters from the visible perimeter of the monument or site.
Members of P4 are Councilors Maylen Yaranon, Elmer Datuin, Leandro Yangot and Faustino Olowan with P4 chair and city budget officer Letty Clemente, city planning and development officer, Evelyn Cayat, council secretary, Berner Bengwayan, Nazita Banez of the City Buildings and Architecture Office, City Engineer Edgar Olpindo, Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers, Jose Tagudar, City Environment and Parks Management Office head, Cordelia Lacsamana.
The group implored on city officials to protect the only open space left in the Central Business District, not only by not building anything above or below the park but also by preserving the natural beauty of Burnham Park.