SECTIONS
Friday, August 23, 2019

Weygan-Allan: Save the parks for our children

UNLESS rendered obsolete and repealed, city ordinance number 015, s. 2000 regulates amusement centers in the City of Baguio.

The ordinance states in Section two: location of amusement park is in any commercial building within the business district or elsewhere in the city if the building is exempted from the Zoning ordinance.

Section three spells out the condition for its operation allowing only 12 years old and above, younger children to be accompanied by parent or guardian. Amusement park should be with proper ventilation, cleanliness and sanitation. Gambling or other forms of betting shall be strictly prohibited.

Likewise, City Ordinance 014, s. 1998 was made obsolete it read “Section four ban on selling and drinking of liquor and gambling at any time of the year in parks, cemeteries and other public places and in vehicles.”

Last night, I drove past Burnham Park and saw these weird structures still standing despite the protest on gambling, safety and cleanliness violation of the amusement center or carnival ordinance and advice of the city.

A documented incident was having two children suspended in the air for more than 30 minutes while parents were helplessly waiting and watching until they were rescued. There were inspections from city departments and they were advised to do more maintenance and Belezar Ola promised to comply with their recommendations.

Yet after all the protest, the rains and the opposition from several corners of the city, the carnival remains there. Maybe it may draw more results if we protest “boycott the carnival in the Baguio – non compliant and breeds corruption.”

There are allegations of pay-off to members of the corrupt members of the council amounting to millions of pesos – simply allegations but again it may be true. So maybe because of the money that passed hands, the carnival remains, Oh I pray that if man fails, God acts on our behalf.

If there was one part of Burnham Park that is family oriented, it is the Children’s Park. Parents and grandparents are there to bring the kids below 12 years old to play while the older children are there to watch their younger siblings. And yet the city council has taken away the open space where children play and open space where families spread their mats and picnic things to share a meal.

How can they be so blind to weigh greater benefits – will the 500,000 pesos paid by Linked-in Corporation through Mr. Ola to the city be able to pay for the happiness of kids and families for 60-90 days of fun in the park? The carnival supporters would counter saying that their facility gives amusement and fun, but I believe more people from Baguio would rather have the park rather than the carnival.

On another park, the Dominican Heritage and Nature Park and also considered a spiritual center. This week we had a prayer meeting and the guard and temple keeper confirm that “HIVEs” is serving beer and just the day before we went there, the San Miguel truck was there delivering beer when it clearly states that no selling and drinking of liquor in public parks. How can we claim to be a character city and yet have an undisciplined citizenry and a government that is insensitive and violating its own ordinances by giving permits to establishments like Hives?

A few years ago, the exact place where Hives was located was a nursery maintained by City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO), and we saw the place nicely planted with flowers and well maintained.

Today, there is no nursery but restaurant and a bar and the gardens need weeding and replanting, in short, maintenance. But CEPMO reassigned their personnel somewhere else and only the guard and sweepers remain in Dominican Park. Many children and families come to Dominican and see the change and negligence.

Parks are meant to give space and places where families come together, bond and develop human relationships, if people from Baguio do not see that, we are missing more. If cases were filed, the respondents should include the departments involved in giving business permits, those who have supervision over parks like CEPMO and the city council that gives permissions for the conduct of such carnival and bars. For the sake of our city and our children, let us save our parks.
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