Flower fest organizers lament slow Council action

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014


PANAGBENGA Festival organizers Wednesday expressed dismay over the Baguio City Council’s delayed action on several activities.

Panagbenga Executive Committee chairman Anthony De Leon said they could have been invited earlier by the City Council to clarify various activities of the flower festival so as not to delay other activities of the city’s annual festivities already opening on February 1.

De Leon said among the activities to be affected the most is the Market Encounter.

Set-up for the activity, which incorporates landscape designs, usually takes more than a week.

De Leon explained the scheduled discussion on January 27 will cause the delay of setting up stalls and landscapes in Lake Drive.

"There is a certain time element needed in preparing for the market encounter," he stressed.

Market Encounter, one of the original activities of the annual festivity, will now be handled by the Baguio Flower Festival, Inc. with major design improvements in its layout.

The activity will also move from its previous location at Jose Abad Santos Drive to Lake Drive.

Panagbenga Executive Committee co-chair Frederico Alquiros stressed landscapers at the Market Encounter are supposed to set up earlier than the scheduled opening of Panagbenga on February 1, which also falls on a long weekend.

In Monday’s City Council Session, city councilors questioned the effect of the Market Encounter activities on the traffic situation at the Central Business District. The monthlong activity will supposedly run from February 1 to March 2.

But Panagbenga organizers claimed they have coordinated with the Baguio City Police Office and the local government on ways to address traffic during the festival.

This was backed by BCPO director Senior Superintendent Jesus Cambay Jr. who stressed the traffic situation can be managed by the police.

This as organizers said traffic congestion in main thoroughfares is already expected during huge activities such as the flower festival adding the yearly activity is no stranger to the local council.

De Leon added they have contingency plans if the City Council will deny the proposed layout for the Market Encounter.

He added they will answer all queries of local legislators for various activities of the festival given the City Council will also help them realize the success of the annual crowd drawer which helps boost the local economy and tourism industry.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 23, 2014.

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