Mayor eyes ‘win-win’ solution to Panagbenga organizer

BAGUIO CITY  – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan wants the crafting of a ‘win-win’ solution between the local government and the private organizer, the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc. (BFFFI), for the 23rd staging of the Panagbenga or the Baguio flower festival following proposals for the city to take over the handling of the city’s major crowd-drawing event.

The local chief executive said that as soon as the concerned City Council committee shall have finalized its report on the recently-concluded public hearing on the matter, he will initiate a dialogue among the concerned stakeholders to thresh out the issues on the handling of the major activities of the prestigious flower festival.

“We will not allow the agenda of certain quarters to shatter the gains of the Panagbenga which is now one of the major crowd-drawing events in the country, thus, the need for stakeholders to come together and objectively look into the matter so as not to prejudice the conduct of the month-long festival next year,” Domogan stressed.

Earlier, Councilor Peter Fianza, chairman of the local legislative body’s committee on education, culture and historical research, said they are still in the process of collating the suggestions and recommendations from the participants of the public hearing before they will come out with the final report the soonest.

Domogan explained that the local government will handle certain activities while the BFFFI will be authorized to handle some of the major crowd-drawing events in recognition of the vital contribution of the private sector in the successful staging of the month-long festivities through the past 22 years since the flower festival started.

According to him, the identity of the Panagbenga as a community-led and government-supported festival must be sustained to showcase the strong partnership between the city’s private and government sectors and not to simply shut the city’s doors on the private sector from actively endeavouring to help in the successful conduct of the major flower festival events.

He reminded the concerned stakeholders that the emergence of Panagbenga was through the efforts of the private sector, through the John Hay Poro Point Development Corporation, a subsidiary of the State-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), thus, it would be unfair for the local government to simply marginalise the private sector in the staging of various Panagbenga events simply because of different opinions on how the financial statement of the flower festival organizers should be presented.

He urged the concerned committee to provide him the copy of its final report so that he will discuss the matter with the BFFFI and for concerned stakeholders to come together and put an end to the recurring problems that keep cropping up at the end of the flower festival and when it is time for the organizers to submit the financial statement and post-activity report.

By Dexter A. See

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