Residents oppose planned parking building at Burnham Park
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – Environmental and civil society groups here are expected to storm city hall on Wednesday, April 11, during the city council’s consultation on the plan to build a multi-level parking building with concession areas along the former city auditorium at Burnham Park.
The groups insist that development in Burnham Park should be kept at a minimum as this is a historical place, an aquifer of the city, and the only nature park in the central business district.
The Baguio We Want Forum (BWWF), a group of 1,200 mostly professional and academe persons in Baguio, issued an 8-point resolution against the plan.
They cited Proclamation Number 64 signed on August 6, 1925, that said, “Burnham Park is a park reservation – a recreation ground. Management, maintenance and administration of Burnham Park by the City Government of Baguio is limited by law so that it cannot encumber, mortgage or alienate any portion of the Park and use thereof shall be limited only to recreation and tourism-related activities.”
The construction and operation of a podium car park would be in violation of this provision, they said.
They also said the plan is anti-poor as only a few have cars.
“Only 11.6% of total Baguio residents own cars, so who are we providing for? How much do we need to maintain a park? We do not need many“Until there is a masterplan for Burnham Park that sets a definitive picture of the enhancement of the park that validates the collective aspirations of the people of Baguio, we firmly insist that the building of any structures within the Burnham Park area be deferred,” said Dr Ronaldo Paraan, head of the Baguio Heritage Foundation.
“We need a park and not another business center. Baguio has reached the limit of its carrying capacity. Please accept reality and look somewhere else, preferably outside Baguio’s center for a hotel and mall,” said Mila Dimalanta of the the Pine Cone Movement.
More than 12,500 have already signed the online petition of these CSOs against the podium car park (https://www.change.org/p/mayor-no-to-podium-car-park-in-baguio-s-burnham-park), but the opposition want to whittle down to only Baguio residents so they can file their formal petition.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan, who had been calling for a parking lot in Burnham since the 1990s, belied the TBWW’s position that there would be no development in the area.
He said Executive Order Number 224 issued by former President Fidel Ramos in February 1995, as amended by Executive Order Number 695 issued by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2009, allows the introduction of development projects in the identified developable areas within the 34-hectare Burnham Park complex to make the government property a self-sustaining park.
“The local government was able to receive a number of proposals on what type of development will be introduced in the old city auditorium and other parts of the park, but the same are mere proposals that have not yet been officially given the stamp of approval because of the need to conduct the appropriate processes that will include consultations prior to implementation,” Domogan said. – Rappler.com
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