BAGUIO City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said it feels good to know the national government is backing rehabilitation efforts for the city.
The chief executive said the full rehabilitation of Burnham Park is on top of the list of priorities with a P480 million funding from the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) and the full backing of the Department Of Tourism.
Magalong said along with the park rehabilitation comes the need to set up additional parking in the area in existing spaces now used for the same purpose.
“This has nothing to do with politics, we are ready for the backlash, and this not for a political career,” Magalong said.
The chief executive admitted opposition to the plan to put parking structure at the park but said the backing of Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat has also been acquired as long as the structure is not in the middle of the park and will utilize existing structures.
“Kailangan natin modernize. Gusto niyo na ganun lang itsura ng Burnham Park,” Magalong said adding the process will undergo a consultation and a dialogue with all groups.
The chief executive said existing parking spaces will be used and assured permission from stakeholders will be acquired.
Burnham Park’s transformation will be done in stages according to Magalong. There will be areas which will be opened for all times while some areas may be closed for the meantime while work is ongoing.
Last week, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed for the rehabilitation of the park starting with the initial P480 million fund.
In his message that was read by Assistant Secretary Jesus Enrico Moises Salazar during the meeting of Baguio City officials with some Cabinet Secretaries held at the Presidential Mansion Friday, January 10, 2020, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu pointed out that there had been no plans to close Baguio City for the implementation of similar rehabilitation initiatives that was done in Boracay because such closure would be impractical as the city being the gateway to the Cordillera.
Cimatu said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is supportive of the planned implementation of sustainable development projects in the city that will result to the improvement in the state of the city’s environment aside from providing livelihood opportunities and tenurial instruments for the people.
The DENR chief committed to give all-out support in the implementation of sustainable environmental preservation and protection projects in the city.
For her part, Puyat explained that plans of closing Baguio City were never discussed in their previous meetings but clarified that she was against the put up of a parking building within Burnham Park during the previous administration without rehabilitating the city’s premier tourist destination. (With a report from Baguio City Public Information Office)