Mayor: No carnival operations in Melvin Jones

BAGUIO City Mayor Mauricio Domogan said carnival operations will not be at the Melvin Jones area.

He said the upkeep and maintenance of Melvin Jones has to be put at priority and added carnival ride operations will most likely be moved to a part of the Children’s Park.

Domogan said Melvin Jones is also being used by groups and individuals, taking into consideration the lease price of P500,000 and the master plan of the operator Belzasar Ola.

The mayor said all these factors will be taken into consideration before his approval of the operations.

In the legislative branch, squabbles have erupted because of the carnival, with an irked Councilor Leandro Yangot taking to heart statements made by Vice Mayor Edison Bilog.

“Those are very irresponsible statements, projecting himself to be the saint and we (the council) as the sinners. it is not ethical and professional to protect yourself as the good and your colleagues as the bad,” Yangot said.

Bilog, in a previous statement, said the city officials approving it may be charged with anti-graft and corrupt practices for favoring the organizer of the carnival despite of the ordinance and the order.

“I am totally against the establishment of the carnival. Let us protect Melvin Jones and the environment,” he said.

He said he deliberately stepped out of the session hall in last week’s council session as a sign of protest and he doesn't want to get involved with the carnival or affix his signature on the resolution.

“I could not in my conscience affix my signature on a resolution, which I believe is illegal,” said Bilog.

Yangot said it is the vice mayor who should primarily defend the council.

Yangot added that before the council approved the operations of the carnival, a consensus was reached by a majority of the members after consulting the mayor on the matter.

Members agreed that an operations of the carnival would be a conducive family-oriented activity for the City, recalling the early years of past carnival operations that gave happiness to children.

Yangot said Bilog was aware of the majority approval of the council.

Weeks ago, the City Council approved the 90-day operation of carnival rides by Ola at Melvin Jones with only Councilor Edgar Avila abstained from voting after reminding the council that parks are beyond the commerce of man, as well as the injunction issued by Regional Trial Court 5 on the use of the Melvin Jones grounds.

Legal sources also said a case of graft with violations of Republic Act (RA) 3017 and violations of RA 6713 (Code of Conduct of government t officials) for both criminal and administrative can be filed against the city and local officials if the carnival ensues.

However, Yangot said there is no legal implications of the approval of the carnival operations as the previous case filed by businesswoman Elena Lao is now being heard with the injunction lapsed.
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