Certain areas in Burnham park are now covered by a title in the name of the City Government of Baguio. This was revealed by City General Services Officer Eugene Buyuccan to the Baguio City
Council during the regular session on March 8, 2023. 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. 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 purposes. 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.

Some members of the city council lauded the efforts of the executive department in titling Burnham Park in the name of the city government. However, questions whether this move was legal were
raised during the council forum last March 8. Councilor Mylen Yaranon asked whether a presidential proclamation can be canceled by the issuance of a land title, claiming that OCT No. 1 which was issued in 1910 and also covers certain portions of Burnham Park was being questioned during the term of his late father, then Mayor Braulio Yaranon. Buyuccan 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. On the same day, the city council approved the first annual supplemental investment
program for 2023 in the amount of P250 million which includes a proposed additional fund (P2
million) for the titling of other areas in Burnham Park and other areas outside Burnham Park that
are being utilized by the city government.

Although joining the other council members in lauding the efforts of the executive department, Yaranon excluded herself from the council’s move to approve the proposed additional fund for the titling of areas in Burnham Park as she does “not want to be included in whatever future case filed against the city government.”

SP/Jordan G. Habbiling

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