Several members of the Baguio City Council lauded the initiative of the executive department to title portions of Burnham Park in the name of the City Government of Baguio. Councilor Jose Molintas said having a title over Burnham Park will allow the city government to “clear the irregularities” happening therein including illegal occupation, adding that the city government does not intend to remove the jurisdiction of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority
(TIEZA) over the area. Councilors Benny Bomogao, Fred Bagbagen, Vladimir Cayabas, Leandro
Yangot, and Michael Lawana Likewise expressed support for the said undertaking.

During the regular session last April 24, the city council approved the proposed additional fund in the amount of P2 million for the titling of other portions in Burnham Park and other areas in the city that are being utilized by the city government. Earlier, City General Services Officer Eugene Buyucan revealed that certain areas in Burnham park are now covered by a title in the name of the City Government of Baguio. The recently titled lot is referred to as Burnham Lot 1 with a total area of 182,045 sqm.

This lot covers the Picnic Grove, Skating Rink, the parking area fronting Tiong San Harrison, City Environment and Parks Management Extension Office, City Library, Burnham Lake, Children’s Park, Orchidarium, Bicycle area, Rose Garden, Melvin Jones Grandstand, Food Stalls, Igorot Garden, and Ibaloi Park. The said title called Original Certificate of Title No. 2023000017 was finally issued on March 3, 2023. After successfully acquiring a title for Burnham Lot 1, the city government is now pursuing the titling of Burnham Park Lot 6 which covers portions of the Public
Swimming Pool and Lions Club and Pine Trees of the World with an area of 10,021 sqm.

However, City Planning and Development Officer Donna Tabangin disclosed that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) had returned the titling application of the city government for Lot 6 due to some issues with its adjacent lots. City Administrator Bonifacio Dela Pena said the city government will apply for all areas in Burnham Park that are not covered by Original Certificate Title (OCT) No. 1. With an area of 299,083 square meters, OCT No. 1 is under the name of the Insular Government and is managed by the DENR.

Portions of Burnham Park covered by OCT No. 1 include the Athletic Bowl and the lots where the old city library and old auditorium were located. These land titling initiatives were started by the
former administration under then Mayor Mauricio Domogan and are being completed by the current administration. Burnham Park is a historic urban park in the city whose area is covered by Proclamation no. 64, s. 1925 which established the Burnham Park Reservation intended for park

The city government has been the administrator of Burnham Park since February 10, 1995 pursuant to Executive Order No. 244 issued by then President Fidel Ramos. Prior to this, the park was under the care of the Philippine Tourism Authority. The full control and further development of the same was finally transferred to the city government on January 10, 2008 when then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Executive Order No. 695. Atty. Brendan Quintos,
representative of the Department of Tourism, said TIEZA, during a meeting last March 29, was questioning the move of the city government to have Burnham Park titled in its name and that TIEZA “wants to retain its ownership” over it.

Dela Pena said the city government will have a dialogue with TIEZA to iron out the issue on titling.
Councilor Mylen Yaranon earlier questioned the plan to title areas in Burnham Park in the name of the city government. She asked whether a presidential proclamation can be canceled by the issuance of a land title She claimed that OCT No. 1 was also being questioned during the term of his late father, then Mayor Braulio Yaranon.

Buyucan said OCT No. 1 which was issued in 1910 does not supersede Proclamation no. 64 which was issued in 1925 since the former precedes the latter. He added that the acquisition of a title over areas within Burnham Park “does not intend to cancel” Proclamation no. 64, s. 1925 as the
proclamation identifies the use of an area while a title indicates who owns it.

SP/Jordan G. Habbiling

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