June 20, 2024

The Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza) has assured the rehabilitation of the Burnham Park in Baguio City will continue once the next administration takes over.

Tieza Chief Operating Officer Mark Lapid, in a recent visit to the Cordillera, said the park’s rehabilitation plan has been approved by the board but the implementation was suspended due to the pandemic.

In 2019, Tieza and the city government signed a memorandum of agreement for the initial P400 million to support the proposed major rehabilitation and upgrade of Burnham Park.

Lapid said due to the pandemic, the funds of Tieza was diverted to the implementation of the Bayanihan Act 2 for the country’s Covid-19 response.

He said Tieza is waiting for travel to recover to increase its budget since the agency is not dependent on the government coffers for its budget, but relies on travel tax collection.

“What we will do with the Burnham Park rehabilitation is to incorporate its project cost, in our loan to the Asian Development Bank together with the rehabilitation of the water sewerage treatment plant of Baguio City,” Lapid said.

Earlier, the city government created a technical working group to prepare the comprehensive master development plan of the 34-hectare Burnham Park, with primary consideration of previous plans that were submitted by concerned sectors like the University of the Cordilleras.

Yeas ago, UC has donated the supposed master plan of the city’s premier park as its gift to Baguio City when it celebrated its centennial anniversary.

The Burnham Park comprehensive master development plan was then approved by the local legislative body, subject to possible revisions after consultations with concerned stakeholders prior to the implementation of the desired development in various portions of the park.

Meanwhile, the rehabilitation and upgrade of the 35-year-old sewerage treatment plan of Baguio will cost the city $58.19 million, or roughly P3 billion to be paid from 2031 to 2049, or about P147M annually.

The loan will be acquired by Tieza for the city while the city and Tieza will enter into a memorandum of agreement for the terms of the loan reimbursement.

Tieza will apply for a $62.97M loan on behalf of the city from ADB, P114 million of which is intended for the training of the city’s tourism workers under the Baguio Tourism Resiliency Project, which the Tieza will provide the city as a grant.

Lapid said Tieza will wait for the installment of the next administration to implement the various approved plans of the agency. – Ofelia C. Empian