Panagbenga organizers grateful to supporters, sponsors

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BAGUIO CITY – The Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc. (BFFFI) expressed its gratitude to the supporters and sponsors of the city’s annual crowd-drawing event for their utmost understanding on the sudden cancellation of the major highlights of the flower festival due to the increasing confirmed Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) cases in the country.

BFFFI Chief of Staff Evangeline Payno said the foundation will not be refunding that much to the sponsors because most of them, particularly the corporate sponsors, have held in abeyance the release of their sponsorships as soon as there was the previous announcement on the postponement of the festival highlights, thus, there were no releases that were made.

The BFFFI official claimed that because of the eventual cancellation of the Panagbenga activities, some of the corporate sponsors agreed to deposit their supposed sponsorship for this year’s flower festival in time for the resumption of the city’s crowd drawing event next year.

She added the corporate sponsors are fully aware of the prevailing situation in the country and in the different parts of the world on the rapidly increasing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and are prepared for the worst case scenario and the alternatives on how to work out their sponsorships with the various festivals that have yet to be conducted in the country in the coming months.

According to her, the difficult decision to cancel the Panagbenga highlights was reached by the foundation because of the obviously worsening COVID-19 situation coupled with the series of withdrawals from the participants of the grand streetdancing and grand float dancing parades supposedly scheduled later this month.

Payno disclosed that because of the reported cancellation of the Panagbenga highlights, numerous reservations in the different hotel and accommodation establishments were also cancelled where the said tourism industry stakeholders have suffered the serious negative impact of the cancelled activities as their prospective clients have already backed out.

She stated the local tourism industry stakeholders will be awaiting the implementation of the recovery plan to be spearheaded by the tourism department in coordination with local governments so that the tourism industry can recover from the current slump and bring back the vibrance of the industry which is the city’s major economic driver.

Payno explained that the foundation will have to set it sights for the staging of the annual flower festival without the undue interruptions considering that it has been unfortunate that the festival activities had been cancelled right when the festival was supposed to celebrate its silver anniversary this year.

By Dexter A. See
Illustration by Don Ray Ramos