Lawmaker seeks to declare Burnham Park as national park

BAGUIO City Rep. Bernardo M. Vergara wants the famous Burnham Park in
the country’s summer capital to be declared a national park to
preserve its historical value and tourism significance.

“Burnham Park serves as an ecological sanctuary and nature’s lung
facility in Baguio with its man-made lagoon, soccer field and parade
grounds, beautifully landscaped greenery, forested enclave, outdoor
sports area, skating rink, children’s playground and biking area, and
picnic section for promenading residents and visitors. Baguio will not
be Baguio without Burnham Park,” Vergara said.

However, Vergara said, the city government needs a regular source of
funds to ensure the park’s proper maintenance and development. “We
need to have consistent funding to ensure its proper maintenance and
development, which the city government could ill-afford,” Vergara

Even with private sector’s assistance, the city government finds it
hard to undertake more development initiatives for the park, Vergara

Vergara said to save the iconic park, there is a need to declare
Burnham a national Park to ensure the needed national funds for its
maintenance, administration, operation, development, upgrade of
existing facilities, and creation of new tourist-catering eco-friendly

Vergara filed a proposed measure mandating the inclusion in the
General Appropriations Act of a P30-million annual budget for the
maintenance and development of Burnham Park. The funds would be
charged against the yearly budget of the Department of Tourism for the
PTA or its successor-agency.

According to Vergara, former President Ferdinand Marcos, by virtue of
Presidential Decree 1762, transferred in 1981 the maintenance
responsibility of the park from the City Government to the National
Government in 1981. Subsequently, it was ceded to the Philippine
Tourism Authority through Proclamation No. 2144 and to the National
Parks Development Committee in 1989.

However, in 1995, through Executive Order 224 issued by President
Ramos, Burnham Park’s management, administration and maintenance were
transferred to the City Government of Baguio, with provisions for
annual upkeep and development needs subsidized by the PTA.

Under Vergara’s bill, the PTA, or its successor-agency, shall turn
over to the city government of Baguio, the annual appropriations of
P30 million so that Baguio will have the capacity as proprietor of the
Burnham Park Reservation.

“This will ensure proper management development of the park as a world
class competitive tourism center befitting the nation’s summer
capital, a National Treasure every Filipino will be proud to cherish,”
Vergara said.

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