February 25, 2024

For the first time in 25 years, majority of the events for the Panagbenga has been set to March – a move done by the organizers as their way of adhering to the advice of health experts that the public should avoid going to crowded places to prevent the spread of diseases such as the novel coronavirus.
It is also on its 25th anniversary that the Panagbenga will operate without the P4 million annual subsidy from the city government of Baguio.
Despite some setbacks such as lesser number of tenants in the Baguio Blooms exposition, decreased foot traffic at the new venue of the exposition, and lesser sponsors, the Panagbenga organizing committee said it will proceed with the holding of the annual flower festival – historically the biggest crowd drawing event of Baguio.
The new schedule of the Panagbenga highlights has been set March 21 for the opening parade, March 22 – cultural show, March 28 – grand street dancing parade, March 29 – floral float parade, and Session Road in Bloom – March 30 to April 5.
Organizing committee chief of staff Evangeline Payno said the rate of parti-cipation for the street dancing remains high and while there are sponsors that backed out, there are also those that signified to participate.
BFFFI treasurer Ramon Cabrera said the foundation is financially prepared to mount the event even without subsidy from the city government.
Organizing committee Chair Anthony de Leon said the BFFFI has long been suggesting a stop to the issuance of subsidy but past officials insisted on giving a counterpart, citing public-private partnership.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the private sector should be allowed to run its own show without government intervention.
He said it is enough that the local government of Baguio is represented in the board of trustees.
“The yearly (third party) audit that the BFFFI submits is extensive. I am satisfied with the report. What’s important is they are transparent,” Magalong said in a press conference called by the BFFFI to announce the new schedule of events.
De Leon has assured that the BFFFI will continue to be transparent by publishing its audited financial statement in a local newspaper.
In 2005, the city council returned to the private sector the lead role of organizing the Panagbenga.
Then mayor Braulio Yaranon vetoed the resolution but the city council overrode the same. – Rimaliza A. Opiña