BAGUIO CITY– The local legislative body decided to retain the P4 million subsidy being provided by the local government to the organizers of the 24th edition of Panagbenga next year to continue strengthening the solid working relationship between the government and the private sector in the staging of one of the word acclaimed festivals.
The amount will be lodged with the budget of the City Mayor’s Office which will be released to the organizers of next year’s flower festival, particularly the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc. (BFFFI), to continue improving the conduct of the various events that will be lined up for the city’s major crowd drawing event.
Local legislators proposed that instead of being specifically allotted for the cash prizes of the different winners in the various events of the flower festival, the amount should be given to the BFFFI to be used in funding whatever events that have not been provided funding considering that the proposal to increase the cash prizes for the winners will be solely shouldered by the organizers because of the reported presence of sufficient funds for such purpose.
Since the organization of the annual flower festival was turned over to the BFFFI over 12 years ago, the local government had been providing a subsidy of P4 million specifically allotted for the cash prizes of the declared winners of the various events that have been lined up for the month-long festivities and the same was never increased through the years.
Some local legislators claimed that the organizers have more than enough funds to bankroll the staging of the 24th edition of Panagbenga that is why the funding assistance from the local government should be used to bankroll the conduct of other major activities to entice more domestic and foreign visitors to come up to the city and enjoy the festive mood from February 1 to March 10, 2019.
Last December 17, 2018, the local government and the BFFFI launched the staging of the 24th edition of Panagbenga wherein 18 traditional activities have been initially lined up for the 38-day festivities considering that other organizers are still finalizing their desired activities that will be scheduled in the coming weeks to add up to the events that have been prepared by the organizers.
Of the 4 million annual subsidy from the local government, Supervising Administrative officer Gloria S. Evangelista of the City Mayor’s Office explained that P3.79 million had been allotted for cash prizes while over P200,000 had been earmarked for other administrative expenses of the flower festival.
The 24th edition of Panagbenga will fire off on February 1, 2019 with the conduct of the grand opening parade which will be followed by the elimination round of the grand streetdancing parade wherein participating elementary schools will be showcasing their performances from where judges will select the finalists that will be competing in the grand streetdancing competition on March 2, 2019.
Panagbenga is the only festival in the country that had been included in the elite of festivals in the world that form part of the International Festivals Association.
The flower festival was conceptualized by its founders to be a major crowd drawing event of the city that will entice the influx of visitors during the lean tourism months.
By Dexter A. See