December 1, 2023

The concerns bugging the Botanical Garden are unfortunately painting a negative image to the park that saw an amazing transformation since it was rehabilitated last year.
Foremost among the issues raised is the lack of policies or guidelines to govern the economic activities inside the promenade area. But it appears that someone is deciding in behalf of the city as regards to the economic activities within the park sans policies regulating the same.
These concerns are not confined to the manner spaces for stalls should be allocated and how much should be collected from each occupant; but also the competition between sanitary services providers inside the park.
In terms of the business activities inside the Botanical Garden, which now requires the payment of an entrance fee from tourists and residents, we agree with the members of the city council that the rates to be collected from individuals engaging in business in the area should be fixed, not by a committee or an office, but by the legislative body.
It is unfortunate the transformation of the park has to give birth to additional sources of headache to City Hall over the supervision and management of public parks in the city.
However, we also recognize the fact that the problems encountered by the city government will be addressed if there are guidelines through legislations to be used as basis on how the office can manage the economic activities inside the park.
This should also be the right time for the City Environment Parks and Management Office to fix the previous practices that are not aligned to what is right, instead of using them as basis in continuing similar activities within the park.
The issue on how a business operator was able to conduct an unpermitted excavation inside the park must not also be disregarded, especially that the area is a public property. There should be no sacred cows when it comes to the administration and management of public-owned facilities as these bring about an environment where unhealthy business practices will thrive to the detriment of the city government and the public.
The operation by the concessionaire’s group of sanitary facilities that have become an income-generating venture to the detriment of the sanitary provider that first secured the contract with the city government should also be corrected.
Surely, this is not how a local government unit should encourage competition among private-owned businesses. Even competitions should be healthy and should be done above board. Well-connected people should not be favored over those who are doing their businesses professionally and ethically.
As economic activities are seen to continue thriving at the Botanical Garden, we hope for the crafting and eventual implementation of polices that will ensure every individual doing a business inside the park will contribute not only to the park’s development but also that of the city as a whole.
With policies finally in place, we are looking forward to a smooth and efficient management of the Botanical Garden.
We hope the unfair practices involving businesses inside the Botanical Garden will be addressed sooner, rather than later in order not to destroy the otherwise pleasant image of the park, which is currently drawing crowds of visitors since it was physically upgraded.