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House approves Burnham as National Heritage Park

BURNHAM’S LEGACY. Daniel Burnham’s highlight in designing a modern city was the Burnham Park, the heartland of Baguio City, will be made into a heritage park following a bill filed by Rep. Mark Go which passed third reading in the Lower Chamber. The park is expected also to get a PhP480 million from the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority for its upgrade and work may start January next year, a confident city administrator Bonifacio dela Pena said. Pigeon Lobien / RNG Luzon

The House of Representatives this week approved House Bill 9353 declaring Burnham Park as a national heritage park on its third and final reading.

The bill, An Declaring Burnham Park a National Heritage Park, authored by Baguio Rep. Mark Go purposely for the preservation and development of national heritage sites is part of his agenda when he ran for Congress in 2016.

With the bill earning nod of the Lower House, Go is confident that it will lead to the preservation of its historical significance; preservation and development of the environment considering it is in the heart of the city; accentuating its iconic significance to the Filipino people; promoting and leveraging heritage tourism; heightening community pride; enhancing Baguio’s identity as a Cultural Center in the country; and, building on its capacity as a venue for community activities.

He added: “It is therefore a must that Congress utilizes the power of its authority to designate it as a national park as embodied in HB 9353, An Act Declaring Burnham Park a National Heritage Park authored by Rep. Mark Go.

With the passage of the bill in Congress, Go said: “This is a significant moment in the history of Baguio. It is exciting to see progress not just because of the law making efforts but in consideration of the hard work of those clamoring for its conservation.”

He added: “Burnham Park tells the story of Baguio and is a connection to the past. It is an inheritance, a heritage, and it is our duty to protect it.”

The bill now will be discussed in the Upper Chamber or Senate.

Meanwhile, city administrator Bonifacio dela Pena said that funds from the national government will be used for its upgrade next year.

Dela Pena said that PhP480 million will be coming from the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority which will be used to upgrade the park as early as January next year.

“The money is there as promised by TIEZA which will be used to implement the parks upgrade as early as January next year,” dela Pena told RNG Luzon.

Earlier, PhP400 million was allocated by TIEZA for the development of the 34-hectare park complex.

The Department of Tourism and the city government has even signed a memorandum of agreement for the development of the park, but this was shelved as the money was used for the government’s Covid-19 response program.

The money will be used to upgrade the lake, the Melvin Jones football field, the Rose Garden, the biking area, children’s park, the Ibaloy heritage garden, the skating rink and portions of the Baguio athletic bowl, where the city is infusing some PhP511 million for its upgrade already, while a P49 million fund was used for the extension of the grandstand as well as the installation of four flood lamps.

Meanwhile, the installation of drainage system using 1.8 meter pipes is almost complete and four months earlier than its projected completion on December.

“The project is four months early,” said dela Pena in an interview over a local radio station of the project installing said pipes instead of culvert at the Lake Drive, the auditorium until Kisad Road.

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