Exhibit violates ordinance

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014


THE Baguio City Council on Monday found a furniture exhibit organizer violating the existing Trade Fair Ordinance.

City Councilors sought answers from exhibit organizer Rowena Calimlim as to why they have not dismantled their stalls and continue to defy Mayor Mauricio Domogan's orders to stop their furniture exhibit at the Baguio Convention Center.

Calimlim said the City Government approved her application for an exhibit with the city mayor approving the special business permit and paying the city P29,000 for rent and more than P8,000 for the business permit for the exhibit for 29 days.

Calimlim initially said her application wanted the exhibit to be conducted at Burnham Park but was discouraged by Domogan due to the ordinance and was instead told to talk to Alhambra for the exhibit to be conducted at the Convention Center.

But Domogan then stressed selling is disallowed which was attested by Councilors Elaine Sembrano and Elmer Datuin who were present during Calimlim’s application for a permit.

Calimlim said to her understanding exhibit involves selling since many furniture exhibits accept orders and sell products which was allowed.
But this was refuted by Domogan adding to his knowledge the application only covered an exhibit and not sales of furniture.

Councilor Leandro Yangot said exhibitors interviewed were made to pay the organizer P25,000 but Calimlim said not all nine exhibitors paid in full with several getting discounted rates.

But Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda stressed the organizer must have known that a SP approval was needed prior to the conduct of the exhibit.

“In the city market, the Public Order and Safety Division immediately confiscates products of sidewalk vendors and violators but there in the Convention Center despite the order to cease operations, the city is not confiscating or at least stopping them from continuing their business,” Tabanda pointed out.

City Tourism officer Benedicto Alhambra, who oversees daily operations at the Baguio Convention Center, was grilled by several councilors asking why he failed to stop the exhibit and to ask the traders to leave the Baguio Convention center grounds.

Councilor Joel Alangsab asked Alhambra why he was unable to immediately report the alleged selling activities at the furniture exhibit.
Alhambra reasoned he has been busy attending to sister-city guests during the Panagbenga Festival.

As the City Council inquiry was aimed to aid legislation, Councilor Richard Cariño stressed there is no longer a need to clearly define an ‘exhibit’ in the ordinance as it is clear it involves the selling of the exhibited product which is prohibited without approval of the Council and the city among other requirements.

This as Councilor Peter Fianza the city government, having issued the business permit, is also amiss in its duties.

Councilor Tabanda seconded this saying the permit includes information there will be selling of furniture as seen in the City Treasurer’s Office.

Councilor Olowan also emphasized the need to review the ordinance governing the Baguio Convention Center particularly on Alhambra’s designation to manage the area.

City Administrator Carlos Canilao, who was also invited to the session, assured the City Council his office will immediately enforce the mayor’s order to remove the stalls.

Meantime, aside from trade fair activities conducted at the Convention Center Yangot also pointed to several activities of selling conducted along Perfecto and Mabini streets made to appear as part of the Session Road in Bloom.

The council asked Committee on Market, Trade and Commerce Councilor Elaine Sembrano to investigate these activities and report within the week to councilors the findings of the committee on violations committed by traders in these areas.

The committee is also tasked to refer to the City Mayor’s Office to make appropriate action on the alleged violations of traders near the Session Road in Bloom apart from traders at the Baguio Convention Center.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 27, 2014.

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