AMID the potential legal row over Burnham Park between the Baguio City government and the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan has said that the local government here is willing to return Burnham Park to the national government if the TIEZA decides to take the park back.
The vice mayor pointed out that the decision of the city government to have Burnham Park titled in its name was to protect the park from being titled in the name of individuals because of the existence of some persons who are said to be claimants of the park.
Earlier, the city government acquired a title for more than half the area of the park while the titling of the remaining park area is still under process.
According to Olowan, while the city did acquire titles for Burnham Park, it is still owned by the national government through TIEZA and as such the city will concede to the TIEZA if it decides to take back administration, management and operation of the park.
However, Olowan also added that the city is interested in continued operation of the park and that the city can thresh out issues with the TIEZA through dialogues as the titling of the land was done in good faith and not to usurp ownership of the park.
Executive Order No. 224, series of 1995 issued by former President Fidel V. Ramos turned over to the city the administration, management and operation of Burnham Park from the former Philippine Tourism Authority–National Parks Development Committee (PTA-NPDC) with a supposed annual subsidy of P18 million.
Further, Presidential Proclamation No. 695, series of 2009 was issued by former President and now House Senior Deputy Majority Floor Leader Gloria Macapagal Arroyo that enhanced the aforesaid presidential issuance to allow the city government to have full control on the operation of the city’s premier park.