Baguio flower fest organizers impose stricter rules-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
THE Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio (HRAB) has promised to impose strict rules during the Flower Festival in Session Road to ensure that sanitation standards are followed.
Panagbenga co-chair Anthony De Leon said they have to maintain cleanliness of surroundings, as well as emphasize proper food handling of establishments in the “Session Road in Bloom.”
Each stall measuring 4.5’x4” and 9’x4” are equipped with fire extinguishers especially those serving and cooking food.
He said each stall owner was required to place a bond to be deducted from P1,000 to P5,000 once found violating sanitation standards and other rules of the activity.
Subleasing of stalls will be meted with a P50,000 fine and outright dismantling and barring of their stalls in future HRAB activities.
“We have to implement punishments through fines to meet the standards that have made Session in Bloom an activity recognized as among the best organized in the region,” he said.
He said they are no longer allowing the use of charcoal for grilling, as well as prohibiting the installation of chimneys for stalls selling grilled food.
“We advised these establishments to pre-grill in their homes or businesses addresses and reheat these foods in their stalls. In the past, we have received complaints from Session Road establishments and other exhibitors because of the smoke and smell from grilling activities,” Alquiros said.
De Leon said they are implementing again the “no plastics” policy to emphasize that the existing city ordinance on the use of paper bags and bayongs in selling can be implemented.
He said their growing concern for the environment led them to implement the policy with food stalls using brown paper bag and other biodegradable product in packaging. Food stalls are also required to use paper cups and plates. However, both organizers said the lack of a better alternative to plastic spoon and forks bar them from totally banning plastics.
To ensure the safety of the activity, he said they partnered with Interlink Security Agency to provide closed circuit television (CCTV) monitoring to prevent crimes while K-9 dogs will also be roaming around the entire stretch of Session Road.
He said the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) has also placed a command post in the Session Road in Bloom while additional Public Order Safety Division employees were also fielded in the week-long activity.
Volunteers, such as the Red Cross, are on standby to provide assistance during emergencies while the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP) also has a booth for public service announcements.
Aware that the activity will result in an increase in garbage in the city, organizers said they have a “three times a day” garbage collection schedule provided by the City Government.
Some 50 stalls were also leased out for free to non-government organizations, artists, persons with disability groups.
Last year, organizers claim more than P600,000 in taxes were paid by stall owners to the City Government albeit taxes paid to the Bureau of Internal Revenue in past years.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 27, 2013.