Issue of February 3, 2019

Panagbenga Flower Festival
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Council postpones validation of MOA with Baguio Lions Club
by Rimaliza A. Opiña

The city council withheld the confirmation of the memorandum of agreement between the local government of Baguio, Baguio City Host Lions Club, and Pines City Lions Club, pending clarification about the organization’s leasing some portions of the Lions Clubhouse along Gov. Pack Road.

In its Jan. 27 session, the city council raised a 1970 resolution that endorsed the organization’s application with the Office of the President for the segregation of 2,000 square meters from the then Government Center reservation (now Burnham Park reservation) for the construction of a Lions civic center (now Lions Clubhouse). In exchange, a city library and a city museum shall be included in the building. The city government also waived building permit fees.

Over three decades have passed yet no presidential proclamation has been issued, making the area still under the administration of the city government, the Commission on Audit said in its report in 2016.

The COA recommended the signing of a MOA between the Baguio City Host Lions Club and Pines City Lions Club and the city, containing, among others, that in accordance with Section 5 of Executive Order 695 that all revenue from Burnham Park shall accrue to the city government and shall first be used for the management, maintenance, and operation of the park. 

The city council said it also wants to be clarified whether Lions complied with the allocation of a library and museum in their building.

At present, the City Library and Baguio Museum are separate buildings also located within the Burnham reservation, but the latter is managed by a private organization.

Councilor Elmer Datuin, a Lions officer and the notary public who signed the still unconfirmed MOA, defended the group saying since the Lion’s Club is not a non-stock, non-profit organization, and the only way it can sustain its socio-civic duties is to rent out some of its facilities.

He said all income earned from the leased portions of the building were used for their operational expenses, medical, dental, optical missions, and environmental causes.

Among the conditions in the MOA are: there shall no longer be extension of the present area that the organization occupies, Baguio City Host Lions Club and Pines City Lions Club shall submit without fail its audited income and expenditure report of rentals received, set aside the second basement for use of the City Environment and Parks Management Office, shall allow the use of the ground hall for meetings of the Cepmo; the parking area shall be turned over to the city to be converted into a pay-parking area, maintain the aesthetic design of the building and its surroundings, and the MOA shall be for 10 years only.

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