Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong directed the City Environment and Parks Management Office (Cepmo) to come up with a policy recommendation on the selection procedure of concessionaires within the city’s public parks.
The mayor also tasked Cepmo Head Rhenan Diwas to study if there is a need to create a parks management committee similar to the Baguio City Market Authority (BCMA) where public officials and private sector representatives decide on the bidding and awarding of market stalls following standard government procedures.
“We need to look at the bigger picture, not only the business side but the entire aspect of park management. Private sector and public partnership are good to involve our community in decision-making for sustainability and continuity of development even with changes in administration,” Magalong said.
City department heads had been discussing the status of park concessionaires and agreed to come up with a uniform procedure on the selection of structures and vendors to commercially operate within public parks.
Diwas said at present, his office issues certification to applicants with business proposals that match the theme of the park where it intends to operate. The applicant then brings the certification to the Business Permits and Licensing Office to acquire a business permit or a special permit.
However, Diwas said whether the applicant successfully acquires a business permit or is denied is beyond his authority.
“We issue certifications based on the master development plans and theme of our public parks,” Diwas said.
For Burnham Park, City Budget Officer Leticia O. Clemente said the current vendors and businesses operating there were established prior to the transfer of supervision and control from the national government to the city government of Baguio.
“We just carried the former Burnham Park concessionaires when the supervision was transferred to us but the number of vendors and structures as in other public parks should not increase to maintain these as public promenades and breathing areas,” Clemente said.
She suggested should there be other spaces feasible for concessionaires, awarding of contracts should be through public bidding in accordance with the Environmental Code. City Accountant Antonio Tabin supported the suggestion citing the government’s law on obligations and contracts should all pass through bidding. – Jessa Mardy P. Samidan