THE ANNUAL conduct of the Baguio Flower Festival or Panagbenga has not been totally canceled but was indefinitely postponed following the emerging threat of the new variant of the Covid-19 virus.
According to a report from the Baguio City Public Information Office (PIO), the postponement will also allow the city to roll out the vaccine that will be made available by pharmaceutical companies.
According to the PIO, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the decision to postpone the conduct of the subdued events for 2021's flower festival was reached to allow concerned government agencies, the city government and concerned stakeholders to assess the impact of the new Covid variant.
Earlier, the city government and the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc. (BFFFI), the city’s private partner in the conduct of the annual festival, lined up non-crowd drawing events supposedly for this year’s Panagbenga Festival to help in gradually and safely reviving the local tourism industry.
Magalong added the flower festival could be launched during the summer season, depending on the outcome of the evaluation and assessment of experts and stakeholders.
The mayor said the rescheduled conduct of Panagbenga events is seen as one of the initial steps towards helping the revival of the local tourism industry, which had been one of the city’s heavily impacted sectors following the implementation of community quarantine over the past 10 months to contain the spread of the virus in the city.
Panagbenga was conceptualized by the late lawyer Damaso Bangaoet in 1995 when he was still serving as the vice president of the John Hay Poro Point Development Corporation, a former subsidiary of the state-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority, to be a community event. It eventually evolved through the years as owner of the most popular crowd-drawing events among the various local governments in the different parts of the country.
Panagbenga was included in the elite list of festivals under the auspices of the International Festivals and Events Association. (SunStar Baguio)