Sunday, January 13, 2013

Draining Burnham Lake

A survey said that most of the New Year's resolution is to lose weight. After all the Holiday parties, it is time to lose what we gained. January is the time to going back to normal, so to speak.
So when Baguio returns from its Holiday frenzy, what do we see?
More joggers than usual around Burnham Lake. But what happened to Burnham Lake? It has been dug up to make it deeper, so they said. It will be improved, is what the mayor and the congressman said.
The last time that the Burnham lagoon was made deeper and improved was less than 20 years ago, when the mayor and the congressman were the same. Before that, the lagoon which we endearingly called the Burnham Lake was untouched. The fountain had been there since the Postwar.
Instead of being improved, the lagoon in the 1990s became tacky and tawdry.  There is the patented Vergara-style faux pine trunks for the viewing place where no one hardly goes because it seemed so flimsy.
Because the backhoes then only dredged the sides of the lagoon, the center became the shallowest part. The lagoon lost its rustic charm and soon only the loonies, the religious zealots, the shoe shine boys, the pick-uppers, the hold-uppers and the lost were the ones frequenting the area.
And less than 20 years, they are back to "improving" and "rehabilitating" it.
The social media are full of comments about the political duo searching anew for the much-fabled Yamashita treasure which some "Japanese maps" said was buried in the lake. They said that the retreating Japanese army during WWII sunk tons of gold in the lagoon. Many believed this urban legend because of recent diggings also made at the Rose Garden and the Bayanihan Hotel.  And come to think of it, is that the rehabilitated Rose Garden? University of the Cordilleras, you are a partner to this rehabilitation: where are the roses and why does it look more like a half-baked parking lot than a garden?
But one commenter was more "sober" in his view. He said that the gold is not the Yamashita treasure but in the project itself.
Other than the Burnham dredging, other government infrastructure projects being rushed are the asphalting of Session Road, the rehabilitation of Leonard Wood, the road to Mt. Sto. Tomas and the Baguio circumferential road. What's with the rush?
As the commenter said, there's gold in dem projects. And why the timing? Go back three years ago, six, nine years ago and you have the answer. The circumferential road, for example, became an election issue 12 years ago and is again being revived.
Multiples of three means election season and the rush is NOT to achieve what they promised.  Their promises are far from these and were long since broken.
These government projects are being rushed so they can promise some more in their next terms of office. And it is within our means to stop them or let them continue. Otherwise we are like the fish of the Burnham Lake, living and dying as they wished. 


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