Baguio officials order closure of trade fair

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Thursday, February 20, 2014


AN OBVIOUS trade fair activity was recently ordered closed at the Baguio Convention Center by local officials.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan in his Ugnayang Panlungsod Program Wednesday said the organizer, a certain Rowena Calimlim, applied and paid P25,000 for a special permit in the City Mayor’s Office for an exhibit in time for the Panagbenga Festival.

However, the city mayor stressed that all other concessionaires in the Trade Fair should have also applied for a special permit not only the event organizer.

Domogan said it should be best that event organizer or affected concessionaires join the Baguio Blooms or Market Encounter activities if their intention was to trade goods.

The mayor said the organizer applied for an exhibit only which he initially suggested for the organizers to use the Baguio Convention Center lobby.

Officials were surprised as to why Trade Fair activities seem to have sprouted in the area with several stall owners allegedly doing their income generating activities without permission from City Hall.

City Councilors on Monday stressed stalls in Convention Center need to be closed until further investigation.

Councilor Leandro Yangot said exhibitors paid an amount to Calimlim for the exhibit and claimed these exhibitors were originally those who applied for the market encounter but were bumped off into the activity and decided to come up with an exhibit of their own.

Both the city mayor and the Convention center's administrator, Baguio City Tourism Officer Benedicto Alhambra, only knew the stalls were for an exhibit.

The exhibit was supposedly intended to run from February 13 to March 13.

Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda explained the putting up of stalls with alleged trading activities is in violation of the Baguio City Trade Fair Ordinance of 1994.

Section 13 of the recently amended ordinance states, "Trade Fair participants shall not be limited to Baguio City residents and Cordillera-based enterprises not located in the City; provided that local businessman shall be given priority and; provided further that part of the proceeds from the holding of trade fairs shall be used to support the beautification and cleanliness programs of the City of Baguio."

Calimlim was said to be from Manila and cannot be sought for comment as of press time while traders in the area kept silent on the issue and pointed at the Trade Fair organizers to speak for them. (With a report from Julia Manuel/UPB Intern)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 21, 2014.

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