Issue of February 3, 2019
     
NEWS
Abra
Benguet
Kalinga
 
OPINION
 

2018
Panagbenga Flower Festival
 
Other Links:
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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