by Harley F. Palangchao
A petition signed by more than 18,000 individuals, including church leaders, asking City Hall to allow free use of the Skating Rink at Burnham Park will be up for review by city officials.
Main petitioners former Guisad Central barangay chair Ferdy Bayasen and Bishop Carlito Cenzon handed copies of the petition to the offices of city officials on Wednesday, the same day they sought audience with Mayor Mauricio Domogan.
The 17,000 signatures were gathered from actual signing while the 1,119 were from www.change.org, a reputable online website, where the petition was posted.
The petitioners raised three demands from the city government, with non-renewal of the lease contract of the private concessionaire as the main demand.
The contract of Quirante’s Fun Rides/Skates Rental and Recreation Center, the private concessionaire, will expire on Nov. 2. The private concessionaire has been renting the facility for P120,000 from Nov. 3, 2008 to Nov. 2, 2010 until the contract was extended up to Nov. 2.
The petition also demanded all business enterprises within the facility that are not in line with the intended use of the Skating Rink be removed.
The petition also demanded the facility be opened to the public for free.
Domogan, during an audience with the main petitioners, said the city is bidding out the facility once the current contract expires, saying the city by that time has a ready terms of reference (TOR) for the operation of the Skating Rink.
The mayor tasked the group of noted urban planner Arch. Jodi Alabanza to prepare the TOR.
The mayor said the city has been accommodating concessionaires at Burnham Park to pay for the maintenance of the city’s premier park, which includes salaries of workers maintaining the park.
While Executive Order 224 s. 1995 transferred to the city government the management, administration, and maintenance of Burnham Park, the facility remains to be titled under the Philippine Tourism Authority, now known as the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority or TIEZA.
In the petition, stakeholders questioned the presence of bump cars and various arcade games, which it claimed went beyond the original intended use of the facility.
“And while we do not oppose the business of renting out skating gear for this clearly remains in line with the intent of the facility, just as bike rental concessionaires are allowed at the biking area, we strongly oppose the charging of fees for skaters who bring their own skating gear,” reads the petition.