July 23, 2024

The city council has approved on first reading a proposed ordinance increasing the entrance fees at the Botanical Garden.

Currently, the entrance fee for children is P5 while the entrance fee for adults is P10 as per Section 31-C of the Environment Code of Baguio City.

Upon the enactment of the new ordinance, the entrance fees would be as follows: P150 for all tourists; P50 for Baguio residents 13 years of age and older; and P30 for Baguio children who are 12 years old and below. 

A 20 percent discount shall be given to senior citizens and students with appropriate identification cards.

The proposed ordinance states the portion of the city’s general fund from the collected entrance fees at the Botanical Garden may be appropriated for the annual budget of the City Environment Parks and Management Office and may be intended for environment programs and projects to sustain and maintain the city parks. 

The proposed ordinance was introduced by Councilor Lilia Fariñas in response to the letter of Atty. Rhenan Diwas, Cepmo head, dated Aug 26.

Diwas said the rejuvenation of the “almost forgotten Baguio Botanical Garden” has captured the attention of both local park-goers and tourists in the country.

He said the number of tourists visiting the park has skyrocketed to an average of 100,000 each month since it opened on March 6 this year.

“With the city’s ambitious but realistic plan to transform the Botanical Garden into a premier tourists’ destination and to attain its desired sustainability, substantial funds must be raised to develop the park further consistent with its master development plan,” Diwas said.

The proposed entrance fee increase would attain a break-even between the expense and the income for the operation, maintenance, and improvement of the park, Diwas said.

According to the financial study made by the Cepmo, the projected income in 2023 should the proposed entrance fee increase be approved would be P70.2 million as against the projected expenses with proposed park projects which is P69.06M.

The financial study also showed the total expenses for the maintenance, operation, and improvements of the park from 2018 to June 13 was P62.4M while the income derived from entrance fees from 2020 to June 13, 2022 (no entrance fee in 2018 and 2019) was a measly P4M.

The proposed ordinance has been referred to the city council’s committee on health and sanitation, ecology, and environmental protection for review. – Jordan G. Habbiling