Council Clarifies Intent of Trade Fair Ordinance

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By Brix Domondon

The Council Reports

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


THE city trade fair Ordinance of 1994 including its amendments did not intend to prohibit the city government from conducting its own activities within public parks. This is the gist of the position tendered by the city council during its special session in response to the issue of whether to allow the Panagbenga income generating activities, the Market Encounter and the Session Road in Bloom, to be conducted along Lake Drive in Burnham Park and the length of Session Road respectively.

In granting the use of the lake drive in Burnham park for the landscape contest and Market Encounter, as well as Session road for the Session Road in Bloom the members of the august body relied on the report from the Committee on Laws chaired by City Councilor Richard Cariño explaining the intention of the trade fair ordinance. As revealed in the said committee report and after a careful review of the trade fair ordinance itself to include its various amendments it was the determination of the committee that the intention of the city council is to regulate trade fairs and the prohibition contained therein is directed to private organizers and individuals and not to the city government of Baguio. In explaining the reason for this interpretation the committee report stated that the city, thru the city council, certainly "never intended to tie its own hand on certain legitimate activities". It was further emphasized in the said committee report that it was in fact the numerous requests competing with each other of several Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) for the use of certain portion of parks to hold trade fairs that the latest amendment to the trade fair ordinance was brought about.

The report also stated that "on the conduct of 'market encounter' and 'Session road in Bloom' in Burnham Park and Session Road, respectively, during the celebration of Panagbenga 2014, the same is not covered by the Trade Fair Ordinance as it is the city government conducting the same thru the BFFFI by virtue of a duly approved City Council Resolution". Thus, the committee report continued, the trade fair ordinance covers only trade fair organizers and private individuals, and activities which are incidental to other official festivities like the "Panagbenga", where the government is the main sponsor, are not covered by it.

During discussion by the members relative to the above committee report queries were raised whether the contents of the said report might in fact already constitute an amendment to the trade fair ordinance which in customary legislative fashion must first undergo three readings before its passage into law, as well as the fact that it might run counter to a provision of the local government code which states in Section 2, 323 thereof "Failure to enact the Annual Appropriations: In case the Sanggunian concerned fails to pass the Ordinance, authorizing the Annual Appropriations at the beginning of the ensuing Fiscal Year, it shall continue to hold Sessions without additional remuneration for its members until such Ordinance is approved and no other business may be taken up during such sessions".

Nonetheless, after careful consideration of the matter the majority of the members of the august body leaned in favor of the report of the Committee on laws regarding the intention of the trade fair ordinance in regulating trade fairs in the city of Baguio, as well as subsequently approving the adoption of a resolution that would close lake drive for the Market encounter and landscape competition as well as Session Road for the Session Road in Bloom.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 05, 2014.

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