Panagbenga festival body finds vendors’ breaches-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
THE Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc. conducted surprise inspection on trade activities in the Burnham Lake Drive on Tuesday and found majority of stall owners committed several violations on lease agreements.
The festival organizers monitored that some 90 percent of stall owners extended their booths beyond their leased spaces with some already encroaching in the allotted pathways for visitors.
“Majority have exceeded their space allocation. We have instructed them to be within the bounds of their rented tent areas and follow that strictly,” festival chair Freddie Alquiros said.
Alquiros said this is for the good of lessees in Baguio Blooms (formerly Market Encounter) as this will command more foot traffic and more customers.
He added a wider walkway for customers will ensure safety of more than a million tourists expected to witness the Grand Street Dancing and Float parades.
The Public Order and Safety Division (POSD) of the City Mayors Office, General Services Office, Baguio City Police Office and the Panagbenga Festival inspection teams also discovered several stall owners subleasing portions of their allocated spaces, including those allocated as passageways, by renting out tables and extension stalls to other traders.
“We don’t want Baguio Blooms to be used by some individuals who act as middlemen by subleasing these spaces,” Alquiros said.
Ann Ramos, BFFI internal auditor, also discovered several stalls leased out as high as P30,000 to P40,000 when it should only be paid at P24,000 per tent with a P2,000 bond.
The Baguio Blooms includes some 284 stalls divided into 6x6 feet and 8x8 feet stalls. Twelve of these stalls were given free of charge to local women’s and recycling groups.
The BFFI said violators will surely be fined while those that keep on ignoring the organizer’s warnings will have their stalls dismantled by the POSD and will be banned from participating in future Panagbenga activities.
Stall owners selling food items in the area were also found violating existing Sanitation Code regulations with majority of them conducting dishwashing activities near the display area while unable to dispose waste water.
De Leon said they will prohibit washing of dishes and will require concessionaires to practice proper food handling and sanitation practices.
He added they will tell stall owners to use recycled paper packaging or the use of brown paper bags just like what has been implemented in Session Road.
General Services Officer Romeo Concio said they will field personnel to clean-up the area, sanitize the garbage disposal area and regularly collect trash in the Baguio Blooms area.
Alquiros also said they will further introduce improvements in the Baguio Blooms activity by considering a wider area for display and the incorporation of landscape and trade components together.
He also added they will ensure no middlemen are involved in subleasing of stalls inside Baguio Blooms and promised to redesign and organize the event that has long been a traditional activity of the Panagbenga.
The festival organizers will conduct another round of inspection on Thursday to dismantle the stalls of those violating rules set by the BFFI.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 21, 2013.