NO to Podium Car Park in Baguio's Burnham Park!
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“Burnham Park is for people, not for cars”
We, the Baguio We Want Forum, civil society organizations, and concerned citizens of Baguio, wish to put on record our vigorous objection to the construction of any vehicle parking structure within the Burnham Park Reservation. This is in reference to the resolution approved by the City Council on June 19, 2017 relative to item no. 17 of its agenda as introduced by Councilors Benny O. Bomogao, Michael L. Lawana, and Faustino A. Olowan entitled, “Requesting for the Construction of a Podium Car Parking in the City of Baguio, particularly at the area of Ganza, in between Orchidarium and the Children’s Park, Former Pantranco and the whole stretch of the city Library."
The proposed podium car park in the area of Burnham Park is the anti-thesis of what park should be. It poses a continuing threat to the shrinking green spaces in Baguio City and will cause adverse consequences to the heritage, culture, health and well-being of the people.
- Burnham Park is an aquifer, an important source of water in the city with diminishing water supply;
- Burnham Park has been declared as significant historical site by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines;
- It is host to various activities including sports, family picnics, and cultural events;
- It has been witness to many important events in the City of Baguio including the papal visit of Pope John Paul II in 1981;
- During the devastating earthquake in 1990, it was the only area large enough to hold temporary shelters for the victims;
- The proposed parking infrastructure will contribute to global warming because it will encourage the use of more carbon-emitting, pollution-producing vehicles and it will further reduce the city’s heat-absorbing non-concrete surface moisture;
- The presence of car parks poses health hazards, such as pulmonary diseases, including lung cancer;
- Burnham Park is a park reservation(1) – a recreation ground. Management, maintenance and administration of Burnham Park by the City Government of Baguio is limited by law(2) so that it “cannot encumber, mortgage or alienate any portion of the Park and use thereof shall be limited only to recreation and tourism-related activities.” The construction and operation of a podium car park would be in violation of this provision.
The need for vehicle parking at Burnham Park is negated by the multi-story parking building already in construction at SM – within distance to Burnham Park.
The City Government should promote Baguio City as a pedestrian-friendly, wellness-oriented city. If the City Government of Baguio is truly concerned about the lack of parking space in the central business district, then it should decisively improve the public transport system. We have already submitted two proposals (3) towards this goal, to the City Government.
We reiterate -- Burnham Park is not the place for any kind of car parks.
Thus, NO to podium car park in Burnham Park!
(1) Proclamation No. 64, August 6, 1925
(2) Executive Order 224 Series of 1995, Presidential Decree 1762
(3) Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan by Michelle Bacalla Garcia, 2014; Baguio traffic solution proposal by Joseph Edison Claridades, 2017
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