EMOTIONS ran high as the debate on the Baguio Flower Festival trade fairs continued at the city council.
Councilor Michael Lawana, Liga ng mga Barangay president, lashed out at organizers Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Incorporated (BFFFI) for excluding the Liga in all trade fairs of the ongoing flower festival.
Lawana reacted to a letter by BFFFI chairman and co-chairman Councilor Elmer Datuin and Anthony De Leon, respectively, asking the city council for permission to use major thoroughfares for the upcoming Session Road in Bloom [SRB], which he claims has excluded usual areas allotted for the Liga ng mga Barangay to set up booths.
“It is very obvious that they have taken out areas for the Liga, Why?” said Lawana.
Datuin said the same formula used in the Burnham Baguio Blooms will be used at the Session Road in Bloom (SRB) set at the first week of March for the Liga, which will only give the organization, the corresponding cash equivalent of the booths allotted to them but operate the space.
In the Baguio Blooms, the 20 stalls allotted for the Liga have been computed and cash equivalent be given to the organization at P80,000. The arrangement was contained in the letter of Mayor Mauricio Domogan to the city council.
Datuin said the same arrangement will be used in the SRB “to just have one standard,” adding the move was done to keep organization confined to one operator, avoiding the organizational mess that happened last year, when the SRB area was divided to three organizers.
Lawana said it is not the BFFFI who is organizing the SRB but the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio, which De Leon heads.
“We don’t just want money given to us, we want to work hard for it,” added Lawana.
The head of barangays added management wise, the Liga has the upper hand over the BFFFI in managing the SRB as village officials know the ins and outs of the streets and are more effective in keeping the peace and apprehending pickpockets last year, adding BFFFI marshals were ineffective.
Lawana said he is not amenable to the idea and accused organizers of a plan to single out and exclude the organization as he remain skeptical of how the money from both stalls will be turned over to the Liga.
The city council moved to defer the matter to next meeting, cutting the debates and quashing the test of wills happening last Monday.