Baguio Athletic Bowl dev't project stirs controversy
- Artemio Dumlao (The Philippine Star) - September 1, 2012 - 12:00am

BAGUIO CITY , Philippines – Baguio City, which is celebrating its 103rd founding anniversary today, faces another controversy – the development of the Baguio Athletic Bowl and Burnham Park.

The P4.3-billion project is said to be a “done deal” even as Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan has denied allegations of irregularities.

“All we want is the development of the Athletic Bowl which is now in a sorry state,” Domogan said.

The project will reportedly cover some 77,257 square meters of Burnham Park, including the old city auditorium and library, sports complex, the adjoining tennis court, and the indoor swimming pool.

But Councilor Edison Bilog called on Baguio residents to be vigilant, saying existing laws prohibit state parks to become commercial.

The first plan to develop the Athletic Bowl and Burnham Park in 2009 was shelved after an uproar from residents.

Bilog said the implementation of the project must first undergo public consultation as mandated by the Local Government Code.

He said the supposed terms of reference (ToR) of the project also do not include provisions on the social acceptability of the project.

The project may even violate the executive order against the cutting of trees since among the areas for development is the pine-forested World Park at the back of the Athletic Bowl, added Bilog.

In pushing the project, Domogan said the Baguio Athletic Bowl should be developed into a world-class facility to attract more tourists and investors.

He also assured Baguio residents of consultation before the project is carried out. He said the proposed ToR has been submitted to the city council.

Domogan said those who are insinuating irregularities in the project could be engaging in early politicking.

He allayed concerns raised by environmentalists, saying the development will not include the forested areas as indicated by Bilog.

Domogan said the project aims to modernize the already dilapidated Athletic Bowl to be at par with international standards with a rubberized track oval, indoor pool, tennis and basketball courts, simulation golf range, convention room, bigger capacity grandstand, and sophisticated lighting system.

He said the developer will only recover its investments through the support facilities in the area, including pay-parking and commercial spaces for sports shops, accommodations, and restaurants.

A monorail will also be built around Burnham Park to boost tourism in the summer capital, he added. 

ATHLETIC BOWL ATHLETIC BOWL AND BURNHAM PARK BAGUIO BAGUIO ATHLETIC BOWL BAGUIO ATHLETIC BOWL AND BURNHAM PARK BAGUIO CITY BAGUIO CITY MAYOR MAURICIO DOMOGAN BILOG BURNHAM PARK DOMOGAN PROJECT
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