BAGUIO CITY – The City Council restored the P4 million annual assistance of the local government to the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc. (BFFFI) for the month-long Panagbenga, otherwise known as the Baguio flower festival, that runs from February to March this year.
The approved financial assistance to the organizers of the city’s crowd-drawing event is lodged with the budget of the City Mayor’s Office and will be used for the prizes of the winners of the various activities lined up for the 2018 flower festival.
Councilor Elmer O. Datuin, chairman of the City Council Committee on Tourism, Special Events, Parks and Playgrounds and newly installed chairman of the Panagbenga Executive Committee, said that the fund should remain as part of the city’s annual budget to augment funds generated from the various income-generating activities and sponsors to pay for the prizes, subsidies and other expenses to be incurred during the conduct of the festival.
He added the Panagbenga Executive Committee agreed in principle to significantly increase the cash prizes for the winners of the grand streetdancing and grand float parades and the subsidies provided to interested participants to the major crowd-drawing events to entice more schools to actively participate and provide added entertainment to the residents and visitors.
The local legislator explained that the P4 million counterpart of the city will remain while the Panagbenga Executive Committee will exert all efforts to generate more funds from the various income-generating activities to cover the programmed expenses to sustain the staging of the events lined up for the flower festival from February 1 to March 4, 2018.
However, he emphasized that the P4 million financial assistance for the Panagbenga will not be given to the foundation because it will be the local government that will allocate the funds for the adjudged winners of the events pursuant to existing accounting and auditing rules and regulations.
According to him, the Panagbenga Executive Committee is setting its sights on the income to be derived from the bidding of the conduct of the month-long Baguio Blooms Exposition at the Burnham Lake Drive, the week-long Session road in Bloom and from potentials sponsors that committed their support to the annual festivities is geared towards sustaining the growth of the local tourism industry.
Datuin assured his colleagues that the committee will be transparent in the declaration of income derived from income-generating activities of the flower festival to ensure that funds will be properly accounted.
He urged the public to trust the members of the Panagbenga Executive Committee because they will be working for the greater interest of the people of the city in the conduct of the various events lined up for this year’s flower festival.
For more than a decade now, the BFFFI was the one in charge of handling the major crowd drawing events of the festival with the local government providing the necessary assistance. /By Dexter A. See