Issue of July 9, 2017
     
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Mayor says no need to transfer Panagbenga management to city
by Aileen P. Refuerzo / PIO

If Mayor Mauricio Domogan will have his way, there would be no need for the transfer of the leadership of the Panagbenga festival from the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc. (BFFFI) to the city government.

Instead, he said what is needed is the clear definition and delineation of the roles and functions of both the government and the private sector to enhance their partnership in the conduct of the festival considered as the biggest tourism event in Northern Luzon. 

The mayor feels the move by some councilors to turn over the lead role in the management of the festival to the city government is not necessary.

 “I told the city council that what is needed is an ordinance that will clearly define the role of the community, the private sector and the public offices to ensure continuing cooperation for the continued success of the Panagbenga which we now consider as the mother of all festivals for inspiring the birth of other festivals in other places of the country,” the mayor said.

Transferring the leadership role would blur the partnership and cooperation between the two sectors which is one of the ideals that inspired the creation of the festival.

“Let us not forget that Panagbenga was initiated by the private sector particularly by Atty. Damaso Bangaoet of the then John Hay-Poro Point Development Corporation as an avenue of partnership between the government and the private sector and to deviate from this established partnership would negate the festival’s purpose of unifying the sectors,” the mayor said.

The BFFFI which has been running the now 22-year old festival is composed of individuals from both the private and government sectors including the city mayor.

The mayor assured that he will continue to consult with the city council and the BFFFI board of trustees to reach a mutually acceptable agreement.

The city council last April approved Resolution 129 “Returning to the city government of Baguio the lead role in the preparation and management of the (Panagbenga) starting 2018 and every year thereafter.”

But the mayor did not sign the resolution and suggested the passage of an ordinance “that will clearly implement and sustain the understanding made when the Flower Festival was founded in 1995 which clearly addresses” the following:

The institutionalization of the officers and members of the BFFFI coming from the city government and the private sector; the role of the sectors; the strengthening of the rule the net income produced from all the activities to be used solely and exclusively for Panagbenga activities; and all the road the public properties necessary in the conduct of the activities be deemed available without the necessity of pass through the city council.

In response to the mayor’s suggestions, 11 councilors proposed an ordinance institutionalizing the Panagbenga and for other purposes.

In the proposed measure, it was specified that the management of the festivity will rest on the city government “directly or by oversight” through the Baguio Flower Festival Committee which the mayor will head along with a festival steering committee composed of city offices, agencies and stakeholders.

It also specifies that the city can bid out the coordination and implementation of the programs to associations, organizations or event managers with appropriate expertise and experience.

The proposed ordinance has been approved on first reading and referred to the committee on tourism, special events, parks and playgrounds for study and recommendation for second reading.


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