BAGUIO City Mayor Maurico Domogan set the green light for carnival operations at the Children’s Park.

Domogan said carnival rides by Belzasar Ola has been approved with adjustments and a 60-day operation is set to expire when classes start by June.

The mayor said only the vacant spaces at the Children’s Park will be utilized, assuring bike concessionaires space will not be compromised.

Domogan also said the original lease price of P500,000 has been maintained despite the shortening of the number of days in operation while a bond of P50, 000 has also been paid to the city in case of damage to the park.

Domogan thumbed down the use of the Melvin Jones when the news drew flack weeks ago, saying the upkeep and maintenance of the area is a concern.

The chief executive assured there will be no gambling on site as well as games of chance, limiting activities to rides which he described to be family oriented.

The operator, Ola, president of Linked – in Corporation initially requested to operate carnival rides, bingo games, fun booths and food stalls starting March 5, haggling for space at the Burnham Park and granted a portion of Melvin Jones for a 90-day period.

Ola is an operator of carnivals as well as event organizer in Luzon and said it is the first time to do an activity in the city.

Domogan took over negotiations after the council approved of the request.

The mayor said he has also included in the agreement the installation of street sweepers to clean the area to be shouldered by Ola as well as the payment of amusement taxes.

Only Councilor Edgar Avila has opposed the proposal while Vice Mayor Edison Bilog stepped down as presiding officer during the vote, leaving councilor Peter Fianza to preside.

Meanwhile, Domogan ordered concerned offices of the City Government to stop the reported gambling activities within the carnival site that was established in the children’s playground.

The mayor underscored that what was agreed upon by the members of the local finance committee and the operator of the carnival is that the no gambling policy will be strictly enforced considering that what was previously decided was that the operation will be purely dedicated to wholesome and family-oriented rides.

“We learned that children are even directly involved in the so-called piso-piso or lag-lag barya game being openly played within the amusement area which is already in violation of the terms and conditions of the carnival operation that is why we issued a verbal directive to immediately stop the gambling-related activity in the area,” Domogan stressed.

Domogan expressed his gratitude to concerned residents and personnel of the City Public Order and Safety Division (POSD) for being vigilant and were able to document the open gambling activity where there were even children who were playing the game.

Domogan added the mode of doing the game is already gambling aggravated by the fact that there is money involved and whether or not the prizes are in cash or in kind, the same is still gambling which is prohibited under existing laws, rules and regulations.

The mayor reiterated there should be no gambling activities that will be done within the area of the carnival operation considering that what was approved was for purely amusement rides and other entertainment activities that are wholesome and family-oriented.

He urged the public to continue their vigilance and for them to keep their officials informed so that immediate actions could be done in compliance to existing policies of the local government, especially against open gambling operations within the jurisdiction of the city. (With a report from Dexter See)