LAST week, we left off at health being wealth wherever we are in the world.
This leads us to the health and well-being of our beloved Baguio, home of our hearts. And to Burnham Park, often called the “lungs” of the city, since the park is in the center of town and is blessedly open space where, precisely, we can breathe and forget for a moment that our small town has become a distressingly urban jungle. Masquerading as “development.”
Which leads us to the Philippines House of Representatives House Bill (HB) 7966, principally authored by Baguio Representative Mark Go, which declares Burnham Park a national heritage park, and which in 2018 was passed by the House committee on tourism, if the Manila Bulletin has it right "House bill declaring Burnham Park as national heritage park passed" retrieved Feb. 5, 2020).
The news feed about this bill was recently on some Baguio forums, prompting comments of “finally” though the news is some two years old.
On February 13, 2019, a committee report was submitted by both House Committees on Tourism and Appropriations to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, amending HB 7966 to HB 9136, titled “AN ACT DECLARING BURNHAM PARK LOCATED IN THE CITY OF BAGUIO A NATIONAL HERITAGE PARK AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS FOR ITS CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT.” Notably deleted from HB 9136 is HB 7966’s “AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.” That’s about the fund allocation sought. By the way, all this wording and styling can be found amongst the official documents of Congress online http://congress.gov.ph/legisdocs/first_17/CR01294.pdf retrieved Feb. 5, 2020.
HB 7966 and HB 9136 of the 17th Congress then proceeded to morph into the 18th Congress’s HB 1341 still titled “AN ACT DECLARING BURNHAM PARK LOCATED IN THE CITY OF BAGUIO A NATIONAL HERITAGE PARK AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS FOR ITS CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT.” Take a look: http://www.congress.gov.ph/legisdocs/basic_18/HB01341.pdf
The resulting House Journal of July 24, 2019 records that said HB 1341 by Baguio Representative Mark Go “TO THE COMMITTEE ON TOURISM.” And that, ladies and gentlemen, is where the digital trail ends. It also seems to be where the House Bill reincarnation stands as of now.
In the meantime, the Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat has already allotted half a billion pesos or so for Burnham Park development. In the meantime, the City of Baguio has held numerous consultations about said development, so the voices of the Baguio city-zens are both heard and recorded.
In the meantime let this column repeat what many Baguio forums hold: No to parking buildings in the park. In short, get the poison out of our lungs, not into it.
And here I was, trying to get to women and Women’s month. We shall do so next week. But then again, didn’t we just.