June 21, 2024

The development of Burnham Park will be stalled as the P400 million fund earlier allotted for the park’s improvement was diverted to the goverment’s Covid-19 response.
City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña said the city government cannot guarantee when Burnham Park will be developed because the funds are no longer available.
“We have submitted the master development plan for Burnham and the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza) approved the budget, but when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the fund was diverted,” dela Peña said.
The P400M for Burnham Park’s development was part of the P12 billion that was diverted from the Department of Tourism and was used for the country’s Covid-19 response.
Tieza approved the P400M to develop the 34-hectare promenade facility before the national government imposed community quarantines in March last year.
Among the areas intended for improvement are the Children’s Playground, the bike lanes, Melvin Jones football grounds, and portions of the Athletic Bowl.
Dela Peña assured the city will not allow the commercialization of the city’s premiere park.
He said his office has been receiving a lot of proposals for the establishment of commercial structures inside the park, but these were not accommodated.
“Burnham Park is not an economic enterprise. It will remain as a park.”
In one of the city council sessions early in January, a Manila-based firm presented its proposal to establish a multi-level steel parking at the Orchidarium, but Councilor Mylen Yaranon informed the proponent that a parking facility is not part of Burnham Park’s master development plan.
Despite the stalled development of Burnham, dela Peña said the improvement of the other parks in the city will push through.
“We will implement the P30M allotted for the development of the other parks in the city, such as the Botanical Garden,” he said. – Jane B. Cadalig