Children’s Park stalls dismantled-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Sunday, February 3, 2013
THE Baguio City Government ordered the dismantling of stalls set up inside the Children’s Park within the Burnham Park complex upon learning from the Panagbenga Executive Committee of their existence.
Panagbenga Executive Committee chairman Freddie Alquiros and co-chairman Anthony De Leon reported to the City Government the existence of stalls that were part of the Baguio Blooms (formerly Market Encounter).
Alquiros immediately coordinated with Mayor Mauricio Domogan, Panagbenga Festival 2013 overall chairman, to inspect the stalls.
“The stall concessionaires were advised to voluntarily discard the stalls until Friday evening,” according to a text message relayed to the organizers by the Panagbenga Executive Committee.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan also ordered Public Order and Safety Division personnel to remove the stalls if the concerned traders refused to heed the advice of the Executive Committee.
At least 10 stalls were seen inside the Children’s Park. These stalls were apart from the stalls occupying a portion of the park’s skating rink and Jose Abad Santos Drive.
This earned criticisms from some members of the City Council during the festival’s opening parade as they immediately called for its removal.
Earlier, the City Council allowed the Baguio Blooms activity pending amendments to the city’s Trade Fair Ordinance.
The existing Trade Fair Ordinance, which was amended in 2012 by the City Council, prohibits the existence of trade fair activities inside public parks such as the Burnham complex.
But Mayor Domogan allowed the activity to push through, stressing it is part and parcel of the annual flower festival conceptualized 18 years ago.
The City Council suggested several improvements in the conduct of the Baguio Blooms, not only in the changing of the trade fair’s name but also on the layout and composition of display areas. Councilors also suggested the screening of products to be displayed in stalls, which have been criticized due to the existence of counterfeit products.
Councilors stressed the annual event should repackage itself as a mixed landscape and trade fair activity with stalls decorated with flowering plants to improve its aesthetics.
Alquiros stressed the immediacy in effecting the changes was not possible due to lack of time.
The Panagebenga executive committee chairman, however, said they will surely come up with improvements in terms of the layout and design of Baguio Blooms in future installations.
The Panagbenga Festival, now on its 18th year, has drawn criticisms through the years from its street dancing parades to its Session Road in Bloom, but organizers have remained receptive to these criticisms and try to bring about positive changes every year.
The Baguio Historical Society has set stricter rules on participants in the annual street dancing and drum and lyre competitions as well as set guidelines on costume design.
“It has since changed Panagbenga as an activity participated by Baguio street dancers but has now opened doors from participants as far as Kalinga and Ifugao,” Alquiros said.
The festival has also improved on its float designs in the Grand Float Parade with co-chairman Anthony De Leon emphasizing politicians are disallowed from campaigning during parades and are barred froom throwing away candies, campaign materials and pamphlets to crowds during the Grand Float parade.
He, however, welcomed politicians participating in the festival if they follow these rules.
Other developments in the festival through the years include the “no plastic bag” policy for stall concessionaires at the Session Road in Bloom organized by the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 04, 2013.