Issue of February 3, 2019

Panagbenga Flower Festival
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No consensus yet on ‘politicos in parade’
by Rimaliza A. Opiña

The participation of political candidates, other than incumbent officials of Baguio and from outlying towns of Benguet, in the main parades of the Panagbenga is an issue that has yet to be resolved as officials of the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc. came out with differing statements regarding the issue last week.

Panagbenga organizing committee co-chairs Anthony de Leon and Freddie Alquiros in a press conference on Jan. 30 said that except for incumbent city and barangay officials, no politician will be allowed to join the street dancing or float parade. Both said that in the event a candidate/s wants to watch, they will be directed to join other VIPs at the Athletic Bowl grandstand but they will not be allowed to speak to the audience, nor will they be permitted to distribute any campaign paraphernalia.

Also, the organizing committee said it will not invite a politician as guest of honor.

De Leon said the peace and order committee has been tasked to politely ask any politician to move out of the parade and proceed to the grandstand where they will join other VIPs.
“The grand parades are not a political event nor should it be construed as a venue for one. It is a flower festival parade and shall remain to be so,” the BFFFI policy on political participation states.

In contrast, organizing committee co-chair, Councilor Elmer Datuin, said on Tuesday that several political personalities will be joining the parade. He said those who will participate were already advised about the prohibitions.

Likewise, BFFFI chairman emeritus, Mayor Mauricio Domogan, sees nothing wrong if politicians join the parade.

“Everybody is invited but they should follow the rules,” the mayor said but stressed that if politicians cannot abide by the rules, they should proceed to the grandstand where they can watch comfortably.

The campaign period for senator and partylist representatives begins on Feb. 19. As of last week, candidates who signified intent to attend the parade are former Special Assistant to the President Bong Go, retired police director general Ronald dela Rosa, former Sen. Bong Revilla Jr., and Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos.

Domogan said asking politicians to move out while in the middle of the parade is easier said than done.

“We do not want to embarrass them also,” he said.

The organizing committee is set to meet this week to iron out the issue.

Meanwhile, the organizing committee said political candidates of parties who want to sponsor a contingent or float entry may do so, however, they cannot require their sponsored contingent or float to advertise, carry, distribute, or display any of their streamers, banners, leaflets, or merchandise that bear their names, political party, or their pictures.

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PWU Baguio
Technical Education & Skills Development Authority – CAR
University of Baguio

Baguio Central University
Baguio Country Club
Benguet Electric Cooperative Inc.
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources – CAR
Congressman Ronald M. Cosalan
Department of Health – CAR
John Hay Management Corporation
National Grid Corporation of the Philippines
New Media Services
Pag–IBIG Fund
Pines City Colleges
Sangguniang Panlungsod

Assumption Medical Diagnostic Center
Baguio Center Mall
Baguio Water District
Choobi Choobi
Congressman Mark O. Go
Councilor Leandro B. Yangot Jr.
Curamed Pharmacy
Department of Environment and Natural Resources – CAR
Department of Public Works and Highways – CAR
Department of Science and Technology
Fabulo Beauty and Image Salon
Far East Pacific Commercial
Filipino–Japanese Foundation of Northern Luzon, Inc.
Ganza & Solibao Restaurants
Gen. Benjie B. Magalong
GMS Technology
Governor Crescencio C. Pacalso
Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan
Mayor Romeo K. Salda
Mother Earth Deli Basket
Nagomi Spa
Narda’s / Sunflower Ridge
Northern Luzon School for the Visually Impaired, Inc.
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Montessori, Inc.
Philex Mining Corporation
Police Regional Office – CAR
Regional Development Council – CAR and National Economic and Development Authority – CAR
Regional Tripartate Wages and Productivity Board – CAR
SN Aboitiz
Tony Boy Tabora
Veterans Bank
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