BAGUIO CITY – The Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc. (BFFFI) announced the city government will no longer provide the P4 million annual subsidy for the Panagbenga to allow the 25th edition of the flower festival to be a purely private undertaking.
Anthony de Leon, general manager of the Baguio Country Club (BCC) and co-chairperson of the Panagbenga Organizing Committee, said the foundation accepted the responsibility of sustaining the annual conduct of the city’s major crowd-drawing event even without the annual subsidy as the organizers will provide the required resources for the events lined up for next year’s festivities.
Earlier, Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong declared the conduct of the annual Panagbenga festival to be a purely private sector undertaking and the city government will only serve as a support group to ensure the successful staging of the annual festival.
The city chief executive lauded the foundation for effectively and efficiently handling the conduct of the flower festival that made the festival gain national and international recognitions as one of the best organized festivals in the world.
He underscored there is nothing to fix in the conduct of the festival as there is nothing broken, thus, it is unnecessary for the city government to interfere in the conduct of the festival, but instead it is best for the city to allow the private sector to continue spearheading the annual staging of the festival that has placed Baguio city in the map of the site of must-see festivals in the country.
Freddie Alquiros, co-chairman of the Panagbenga Organizing Committee, said the foundation already started its resource generation activities to raise the required P10 to P12 million needed to ensure the implementation of the activities lined up for the month-long festivities and organizers are grateful to the corporate sponsors for extending assistance in various forms to the organizers for the staging of the different events next year.
He admitted during the previous years, the foundation was willing to solely manage the flower festival but the previous administration wanted to contribute, and the city government’s P4 million annual subsidy had never been handled by the foundation but the city government disbursed the same through the cash prizes and subsidies for performers.
While it will be an added burden to the foundation to look for more sponsors to raise the scrapped subsidy and the increase in subsides to participating contingents and landscapers and the cash prizes for winners, both de Leon and Alquiros asserted the foundation will do its best to raise the required budget and make the upcoming flower festival dynamic and successful.
He pointed out despite the removal of the city government’s annual subsidy for the flower festival, the Panagbenga will remain a private sector-led and government-supported endeavor with concerned government agencies and the city government solid partner for the festivities./Dexter A. See