Burn­ham Park de­clared as her­itage area

Sun.Star Baguio - - Front Page -

THE CITY Coun­cil de­clared the 34-hectare Burn­ham Park as a her­itage park and for a his­tor­i­cal marker to be in­stalled in the area by the Na­tional His­tor­i­cal Com­mis­sion of the Philip­pines (NHCP).

In a res­o­lu­tion, lo­cal leg­is­la­tors stated that in line with the lo­cal govern­ment’s pol­icy to ex­tend full sup­port for her­itage site preser­va­tion as well as full recog­ni­tion of its his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance, it is of ut­most im­por­tance that Burn­ham Park be de­clared a her­itage park and to al­low the in­stal­la­tion of a his­tor­i­cal marker in the area by the con­cerned govern­ment agency.

The coun­cil an­chored its de­ci­sion on Sec­tion 5, Ar­ti­cle 3 of Re­pub­lic Act (RA) 10066 or the Na­tional Cul­tural Her­itage Act of 2009 that stated for pur­poses of pro­tect­ing a cul­tural prop­erty against ex­ploita­tion, mod­i­fi­ca­tion or de­mo­li­tion, cer­tain works, in­clud­ing struc­tures dat­ing at least 50 years old, shall be con­sid­ered im­por­tant cul­tural prop­erty, un­less de­clared oth­er­wise by the per­ti­nent cul­tural agency.

Ear­lier, the lo­cal govern­ment adopted a pol­icy of en­liven­ing cul­ture, arts, crafts and her­itage where full govern­ment sup­port will be ex­tended to its part­ners in the arts, cul­ture, creative and her­itage con­ser­va­tion sec­tors be­fit­ting the city’s be­ing de­clared by the United Na­tions as the only city in the coun­try granted mem­ber­ship in the UN Creative Cities Net­work.

The coun­cil stip­u­lated that the city will main­tain con­stant en­gage­ment and ac­tive in­volve­ment with the afore­said sec­tors to en­cour­age ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tiv­i­ties meant to en­liven the cul­tural scene and strengthen har­mo­niz­ing ef­forts of var­ied in­dige­nous and tra­di­tional cul­tural prac­tices as well as com­mit sup­port for her­itage sites preser­va­tion.

Burn­ham Park is a his­toric ur­ban park sit­u­ated right in the heart of the city which was de­signed by Amer­i­can ur­ban plan­ner Arch. Daniel Burn­ham as in­flu­enced by the City

Beau­ti­ful Move­ment and that the area oc­cu­pied by the same was re­served for park pur­poses on Au­gust 6, 1925 through Procla­ma­tion No. 64 of Gov­er­nor-Gen­eral Leonard Wood.

Be­fore the Amer­i­cans set foot in Baguio, the area where Burn­ham Park is now lo­cated was a wide open space which was re­ferred to as Kafag­way. Since its inau­gu­ra­tion, Burn­ham Park served as a breath­ing space and cen­ter for pub­lic con­gre­ga­tion in the city. It served as the venue for lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional gath­er­ings such as the Baguio Car­ni­val in 1915, Baguio Car­ni­val and Ex­po­si­tion in 1923 and Po­lit­i­cal Mass of Poe John Paul II in 1981.

In 2015, the NHCP rec­og­nized the na­tional his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance of Burn­ham Park where it pro­posed to in­stall a his­tor­i­cal marker at Burn­ham Park sub­ject to the con­form­ity of the lo­cal govern­ment.

The NHCP claimed that the park is con­sid­ered an im­por­tant cul­tural prop­erty be­cause of its more than 50 years of ex­is­tence pur­suant to the pro­vi­sions of RA 10066.

Pend­ing be­fore the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives is a pro­posed bill that seeks to de­clare Burn­ham Park as a na­tional her­itage park and ap­pro­pri­at­ing funds for its sus­tain­able con­ser­va­tion and de­vel­op­ment. The bill rec­og­nizes Burn­ham Park’s con­tri­bu­tion in the progress and pros­per­ity of the city for over a cen­tury now.

The coun­cil as­serted the need to pre­serve the rich cul­tural her­itage of the peo­ple of the city for the ben­e­fit of the next gen­er­a­tions.

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