COUNCILOR Leandro Yangot lamented that organizers of the Baguio Flower Festival have yet to coordinate or include him in any meeting for Session Road in Bloom (SRB).
Yangot, during this week’s regular session, said that as co-chairman of the SRB, he previously asked for meetings with his counterparts in the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Incorporated (BFFI) but it was ignored.
“[I was told] They were either out of town or were busy, they never met with me,” he said.
Yangot said he would have asked that pedestrians be given more space during the SRB and could have suggested a re-design of stalls, but his ideas were never heard.
He said his sentiments ring true for other members of the council who were appointed positions in the management of this year’s festival but were never consulted or asked to join meetings.
But Andrew Pinero of the BFFI said it happened "because we were also not included in their plans of taking over most of session road. It seems they have already made plans prior to Panagbenga."
In a previous move by the Liga ng mga Barangay, as approved by BFFI chairman Mayor Mauricio Domogan, the group of 128 barangays asked that they handle more areas for the SRB. The areas include the Assumption and Perfecto streets, Calderon, portions of Lower Session Road from Mabini/Session Road Intersection downward, and portions of Governor Pack and the Post Office Loop.
Liga president and Councilor Michael Lawana is in-charge of the administration, management and supervision of the areas where revenue can be generated. The revenue will be used for the clean and green and peace and order programs of the organization.
“In fact, Liga and PCL have their own areas to manage. We have always been cooperative in terms of coordination, but the recent ongoings in Baguio Blooms and their plans for Session Road in Bloom was never informed to us until the last minute that we cannot do anything about it anymore,” Pinero said.
“As for Session Road in Bloom, we will manage what was left of what Liga and PCL has taken but they must refrain from their plans of occupying post office sidewalk because that space is part of our area which is from SM Rotonda to PNB,” he added.
Yangot said "this is a clear signal that we should take decisive action."
Domogan has since appointed Councilor Elmer Datuin as Baguio Flower Festival chairman, taking the reins of the executive committee, which runs the annual festival.
Yangot has also been included as a member of the executive committee with Freddie Alquiros as co-chairman and members Anthony de Leon, Councilors Michael Lee Lawana, Peter Fianza, Dr. Federico Martin, Philippine Information Agency Regional Director Helen Tibaldo, Department of Tourism Director Venus Tan, The Manor general manager Ramon Cabrera, City Hall officials and private citizens, Evangeline Payno, Renato Rondez, Leticia Clemente, Carlos Canilao, Moises Cating and engineer Edgar Victorio Olpindo.
Datuin said he is aware of the sentiments of his colleagues in the council and cannot blame them for their frustration.
The BFFI executive chairman said all inputs will be put in the post evaluation. He assured that a post audit will be given.
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on February 21, 2018.
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