Issue of October 1, 2017
Mt. Province

Panagbenga Flower Festival
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Two-day Sagada concert to proceed amid petition
by Jane B. Cadalig

The concert in Sagada, which is being petitioned by a group of concerned citizens, will push through as scheduled.

Municipal Tourism Officer Robert Pangod said the event set from Oct. 28 to 29, dubbed “Concert in the Clouds,” will go on, saying the community has been consulted and the needed consent has been given as early as December last year.

A group of concerned citizens of Sagada, in a petition lodged on, asked the local government and the community to call off the concert, which aims to gather 3,000 to 5,000 people for the two-day performances.

The group said the concert will result in an ecological nightmare.

“Sagada already grapples with issues such as lack of sanitation and waste disposal, lack of recycling of imported plastics, and lack of robust management. A horde of thousands of people over two to three days and nights would mean piles upon piles of trash that would be left for the local residents of Sagada to clean up like servants cleaning up after the party events of masters,” the petitioners said.

Pangod said environmental concerns have been discussed during the community consultations. “We already talked about these concerns since last year. Of course, we have set mechanisms to manage the garbage that will be generated during the event,” he said.

He added the concern of the petitioners about Sagada’s tourism carrying capacity was also addressed.

“We set up the ‘no bed, no ticket’ policy, which means that (owners) of accommodation facilities are not allowed to sell tickets if they have no available beds during the concert.”

Pangod said a team composed of operators of accommodation facilities has been tasked to monitor the sale of tickets and ensure that the lodging houses are able to provide the space for the visitors.

He said the number of people who will attend the concert is manageable because Sagada’s average number of visitors reaches 8,000 on long weekends.

He added the concert will not create noise pollution because the venue is in an open area at Maduto, Barangay Ankileng, located some four to five kilometers away from Barangay Poblacion.

Pangod said the area is owned by Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative to the municipal council and respected elder Jaime Tigan-o.

He said it is unfortunate that the group that initiated the petition; which gathered 1,936 signatures as of press time; was not around when the community consultations were being held last year and that most of those who signed are non-residents of Sagada or those born in the town but are now residing abroad.

“Their understanding (of the event) is misplaced. The concert has been planned last year and the issues raised by the petitioners were already taken into consideration,” he said.  
The concert will feature noted performers like Gary Valenciano, Ely Buendia, Up Dharma Down, Noel Cabangon, Joey Ayala, and Freddie Aguilar. Performances for the two-day event will be from 3 to 11 p.m.

Pangod said proceeds of the event, organized by musician-producer Ed Formoso, will be used for charitable purposes. Among the beneficiaries are Sagada’s day care and special education centers and the Philippine Red Cross-Mountain Province.

The petitioners said while the intention of the concert is noble, Sagada is not the appropriate venue for such event.

“The intentions of the producer and organizers and intentions ‘to do good’ can be carried out differently and in other positive and sustainable ways that do not threaten nor harm the culture, values, health, safety and natural environment of Sagada. We firmly believe that grandiose promises made and economic gains anticipated by the producer and organizers are substantially outweighed by the negative effects that the proposed concert would bring to Sagada, adversely impacting our social, cultural, and environmental life,” the group said.

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