BAGUIO CITY – The proposal to revert the management of the Panagbenga to the local government from the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc. (BFFFI) must be carefully studied by the concerned quarters to prevent the uncontrolled privatization of the city’s crowd-drawing event, mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said here recently.
The local chief executive claimed the proposal for the local government to manage the flower festival is laudable but there the advantages and disadvantages must be seriously studied considering lessons from 2005 when two groups conducted the major events of the festival.
“There is nothing wrong about the proposal but we need inputs from all the concerned stakeholders to further improve the annual staging of the internationally known flower festival,” Domogan stressed.
On the proposal for the local government to bid out the staging of the festival to interested organizers, Domogan warned the proponents of the expected massive commercialization of the festival because the organizers will be inclined to source out funds from sponsors to bankroll the month-long festivities as the city will no longer shell out funds as its counterpart.
While admitting that there is already commercialization in the festival by the BFFFI, he explained the scrapping of the city’s funding support to the organizers and the total privatization of the festivities will open the floodgates for the massive commercialization of the festival that will defeat its purpose of being a government-led and private sector-supported festival, its identity from the start.
Instead of enacting a resolution reverting the management of the festival from the BFFFI to the city, he recommended that the local legislative body must enact an ordinance outlining the duties and responsibilities of the concerned parties involved to address the loopholes uncovered during the previous staging of the festival under the BFFFI.
Pending before the local legislative body is a proposed resolution reverting the management of the Baguio flower festival from the BFFFI to the local government starting next year after the Commission on Audit (COA) found the absence of a memorandum of agreement between the local government and the BFFFI defining the duties and responsibilities of both parties in the conduct of the festival.
He added the local government and the BFFFI are always open to suggestions and recommendations on how to improve the conduct of the annual festival to boost the sustained growth of the local tourism industry beneficial to the robust economic growth for the city.
He pointed out it is still best for the event to be government-led and private sector-supported in adherence to its main purpose which was to elicit the participation of all concerned sectors to ensure the successful conduct of the events lined up for the month-long festival./By Dexter A. See#