Mayor Benjamin Magalong is hopeful that the shelved Burnham Park rehabilitation will get off the ground soon.
The mayor said the city has been given assurance that the P400 million grant committed to the city in 2019 but withdrawn due to the pandemic will be reinstated with an additional P200 million for the major overhaul of the city’s premier park along with attached areas like the Ibaloy Garden and the Pines Trees of the World.
The grant will come from the Department of Tourism’s investment arm, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA).
The Burnham Park improvement is a component of the Baguio City Tourist Resiliency Project which also includes the rehabilitation of the city’s sewerage treatment plant to address pollution of river tributaries in the city.“
As a tourism city, we cannot just set aside the condition of our river system while priding our city as a tourist destination. Bued and Balili rivers have been classified as the most polluted in 2019 and our city is contributory to that. One way to address it is to rehabilitate our old sewerage treatment plant and sewer lines,” the mayor said.
Unlike in the park project, funds for the sewerage plant will be through a loan secured from the Asian Development Bank (ABD) amounting to P60 million.ADB will fund the project and the implementing agency will be the DOT through the TIEZA.
The mayor said the loan has already been approved and will go through the process with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). He said TIEZA Chief Operating Officer Mark Lapid assured him that documents for the projects are now being readied for endorsement to the new administration. – Aileen P. Refuerzo