CANCELLED – Panagbenga opening parade, CARAA, etc

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Benjamin Magalong Jan. 31 decided to cancel the Panagbenga opening activities and other major and crowd-drawing activities in the city in the next three weeks as a safety precaution against the 2019-nCoV.
The Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc. (BFFFI) however clarified that the opening parade will not be totally scrapped but will just be postponed to a later date.
All other Panagbenga activities will push through as scheduled even as the mayor withheld decision on whether or not to postpone the three main events – the Grand Street Dance and Float Parade as well as Session Road in Bloom set on Feb. 29 and beyond considering that there is still a need to assess the situation in the coming weeks.
The mayor also cancelled the Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association (CARAA) regional sports competition on February 16-21, 2020, the Sunday Session Road pedestrianization activities and art activities along Session Road and all other activities that would entice crowd in the next three weeks (February 1-23, 2020).
The mayor’s decision was made after consulting with officials of the Department of Education, Department of Health, the Baguio General Hospital, Office of Civil Defense, Dept. of Tourism, the Baguio Tourism Council and the BFFFI.
The consensus was to put the health and safety of the residents and tourists over and above other concerns as health authorities agreed that while there is no 2019-n-CoV case yet in the city and the region, they cannot guarantee that its entry can be prevented when the city opens its gate to a Panagbenga-size crowd especially with its high infective rate and volatile nature.
DOH-CAR Regional Director Amelita Pangilinan said the country has been given a high risk status by the World Health Organization with one case confirmed and 28 under investigation.
“I don’t care about the losses that will be incurred in the postponement of these activities. What we are after is the safety of the people,” the mayor said.
The mayor however clarified that the city is not on a lockdown status.
Tourists are still welcome to enjoy the city and the other activities will push through as scheduled, he said.
With the cancellation of the parade, the mayor lifted the suspension of classes in the tertiary level which he ordered earlier.
The mayor meanwhile formed a task force composed of the local government unit offices, DOH, DepEd, OCD, BGH Philippine Information Agency, Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Commission on Higher Education, Baguio Fire Department and others to closely monitor and ensure adequate response to the situation./Aileen Refuerzo and Dexter See


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