Issue of March 4, 2018
     
NEWS
Benguet
Ifugao
Mt. Province
 
OPINION
 

2017
Panagbenga Flower Festival
 
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WEEK'S MAIL
We welcome your letters and opinions. Kindly limit your letters to a page, preferably typewritten and doublespaced. However, for your letters to be considered for publication, it is essential that all letters must be SIGNED above your PRINTED NAME (you may request your name to be withheld or substituted with your pen name) and must include your ADDRESS and PHONE NUMBER. Letters and emails deficient in any of the above requisites will not be entertained. Please be guided accordingly. Thank you.
 
BFFFI reply to open letter on Panagbenga float judging
BFFFI Grand float parade committee, Baguio City

This has reference to Mr. Danilo Daguio’s letter pertaining to several observations during the conduct of the grand float parade competition held last Feb. 25.

First, we have already provided a copy of the roster of judges for the float competitions for 2018 to make you aware of their credentials and background. The people who vetted their credentials include the chairman of the grand float committee, the chairperson of the judges committee and members of the executive committee. The line-up of judges are renowned members of either the World Flower Council-Philippine Chapter or have memberships in reputable institutions. The judges are experts in industries, as they have experiences as judges in prestigious international and national competitions. These judges are reputable and are disinterested parties who have nothing to gain by favoring any of the float entries.

Truth be told, three members of the board of judges for 2018 are returning members who judged in the grand float competition in the Panagbenga Festival 2014. This was the year when the Department of Agriculture was adjudged 2nd place in the big float category.

Secondly, we take exception to your statements that the judges were not present in the assembly area. We beg to differ. The judges have an itinerary and they were picked up at their hotel at 6 a.m. and were present at the Panagbenga Park accompanied by the Deltans – the event marshals and the secretariat. They were also present at the judges’ tent at the Melvin Jones football grounds. They were joined by representatives from the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc. represented by the chair and co-chair of the grand float committee, Mr. Anthony de Leon, and Mr. Frederico Alquiros, respectively; the chief of staff and three certified public accountants represented by the auditor of BFFFI and two members of the scoring committee were also present.

The entry scores were summarized and the tallies were generated on-site. The judges inspected the float entries at Melvin Jones football grounds and completed the judging before the area was opened for public viewing. For your information, these judges stayed behind to deliberate on the entries that were tied in the small float category.

It is true that the overall festival theme is a “Celebration of culture and creativity.” However, we would like to point out that this is also an open grand float competition. While none of the criteria includes strict adherence to the theme, the annual festival theme is presented in the guidelines only to serve as a guide and its spirit and interpretation is open and subjective as Baguio is a melting pot of cultures and traditions. Not one person has the monopoly or the sole authority to dictate what is culture and creativity, and what it is not as an inclusive festival, it is not meant to discriminate. Demeaning remarks about an entry because the float emphasized their product and criticism on the use of ordinary and common flowers reflects the culture and character behind the statement.

 Suddenly, the competitor-entry becomes a judge and jury.

The guidelines used for the grand float competition are the same guidelines that were carried since 2008 and every year thereafter. Some minor refinements were included and added over the years but the basic standards and criteria have remained the same.

Guidelines for 2018 follow the same standards and criteria, except for some adjustments over the dimensions to accommodate the small float category, which was introduced two years ago.

The guidelines pertaining to the “24 hours after the parade as part of the judging” clause pertains to the freshness of the cut flowers and materials and its presentability. This means that the float and the quality of the materials used must be intact and should not wilt or deteriorate or degenerate by the time the parade starts and 24 hours thereafter. It did not specify that the all the floats have to remain in the venue for the next 24 hours. The float entries were advised to remain in the venue until the judging is completed and the scores are finalized before the entries on display are opened for public viewing. The basis of the overall assessment and adjudication is on the criteria in terms of creativity, floral craftsmanship, artistic merit, floral and color presentation and dramatic impact.

In addition, because the competition is inclusive, it does not discriminate the use of common or ordinary flowers or extraordinary or expensive varieties. How you used the materials and executed it based on the criteria spells all the difference. Again, may we please refer you back to the criteria.

Protection of the floats from being ransacked is something that the organizing committee will continue to improve. The public overwhelmed the coordinators from Master Siomai, GMA, and Palawan Express along with few of the float entries present. The judging of the entries have already been finalized and completed before the ransacking incident happened.

The current set of judges, three of whom include returning judges in the persons of Mr. John Ong, Ms. Susan Ong, and Mr. Marlon Absalon, deserve more respect from you or your office for finding your float entry in 2014 noteworthy and deserving of second place in the overall competition back then. To crucify now the same set of judges that propelled your float entry to the second highest mark in 2014 would be truly unfair and inequitable.

To malign the reputation of these judges and those who are in the organizing committees by casting aspersions or to even insinuate anomaly demeans the overall purpose of the festival and undermines the efforts of thousands of people who are working behind Panagbenga and the industry for which it stands. Unlike you, the entire organization exercises due process.

We do acknowledge and respect your opinions and observations albeit unverified and one-sided. We truly thank you for your candor and feedback. These are useful to us as organizers in improving the overall quality and conduct of the competition and the festival. Your criticism is welcome. Your libelous statements or innuendos against the organizing committee, however, are not. Sportsmanlike conduct is something that the Panagbenga Festival as an accredited member of the International Festival and Events Association, should include in the guidelines for future competitions.

We would like to emphasize that this year’s assessment by six reputable judges takes precedence over your personal and individual opinion. That said, we regret to inform you that the decision of the judges are final and not appealable.

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MORE ON WEEK'S MAIL
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:: An open letter to the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc.
I am writing in my personal capacity as a resident of Baguio City. I have always been proud of Panagbenga, particularly of the grand float parade. I am one in promoting it as a world–class festival.
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:: Wrong pronunciation of Panagbenga
I would just like to air my observation regarding how the word "Panagbenga" was pronounced by a reporter of a Manila–based television channel last Feb. 24.
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:: Preventing pupil from eating during recess as a punishment
I am writing with a hope that the Department of Education in Baguio and the head of Baguio Central School will address a particular concern we have been having with our child’s teacher.
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:: Kidney patients thank sponsors and Samaritans
We, the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center Dialysis Patient’s and Partners Association, Inc. (BGHMC DDPAI), would like to express our warmest gratitude to the sponsors of our Christmas caroling caravan held from Dec. 10, 2017 to Jan. 6.
 

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