SAGADA officials and elders backed the now controversial town concert as they asked the opposition to quiet down and cooperate.
In a show of force, Mayor James Pooten, Vice Mayor Ben Capuyan, Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative, Jaime Dungao, organizer Ed Formoso with residential Adviser on Peace Process (OPPAP) representative and former mayor Thom Kilip said the concert will push through on schedule.
The Formoso led event is dubbed as “A Concert in the Clouds scheduled for October 28 and 29 and top bills artists led by Ely Buendia, Up Dharma Down, Noel Cabangon, Joey Ayala, Freddie Aguilar and Gary Valenciano and is dubbed the “Sagada Art,Music and Peace fair 2017.”
A group of concerned citizens from Sagada started the petition at change.org to stop the concert scheduled next month which aims to accommodate thousands.
The petition has gained ground and now has thousands of signatures wanting to put a stop to the concert.
Killip said the petitioners as well as a majority of those in protest are not living in the town.
“We respect all opinions of the town but most of the reactions are from folk who are now outside Sagada, We understand where they are coming from but ask them to cooperate with this endeavor.”
The event is also backed by the office of the Department of Tourism cordillera with regional director Marie Venus Tan saying cultural sensitivity will be undertaken for the duration of the event and pledged.
Capuyan assured concerns on drugs and possible bombing will be quelled with the presence of sniffing dogs stationed on site to thwart any untoward incidents.
Ticket sales will go to at least 15 beneficiaries of various organizations, including day care centers and arts development in the town.
Formoso said there anticipates at least 3,000 attendees with tickets and beds “all ticket goers will be asked where they will be staying, cam,[ping will only be allowed once all the bed capacities of the town is filled.”
The entire town can only accommodate 4,000 in the lodging homes and transient houses with nearby Bontoc town to take crowds who may not be able to book lodging in the town.
Local talent will also be given a chance to perform during the two day concert.
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on October 22, 2017.
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