The Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc. (BFFFI) and the city government have decided to postpone the city’s annual flower festival, otherwise known as “Panagbenga”, this year.
Andrew Pinero, chairman of the media committee of the festival, made the announcement to the local media on Saturday.
“In a meeting yesterday (Friday) between the BFFFI (Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc.) Execom and Mayor (Benjamin) Magalong, they have decided to postpone the conduct of the toned-down version of Panagbenga 2021,” Pinero said.
The month-long annual festival formally opens every February 1 with the two major crowd-drawing grand events — street dancing and float parades — happening on the third weekend of February.
Hundreds of thousands of people await the two grand parades that bring in revenues to the local economy. The decision is in consideration of the safety of the residents.
“With the health and safety as the primary concern due to the entry of the UK (United Kingdom) variant of Covid-19 in the country and the pending rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine, both have decided to move the conduct of the Panagbenga at a later date,” Pinero added.
In a phone interview, Pinero said it may or may not happen this year as further decisions will be based on the assessment of current developments.
“Health and safety kasi ang importante. Kaya kailangan ma-assess situation before deciding when it will be held (Health and safety are more important that is why there is a need to assess when it will be held),” he said.
He said if the rollout of the vaccine this year is successful and it lives up to the expectations that all people who are inoculated are protected from the virus, such can be a good time to have the festival.
Before the holidays, Magalong announced that the foundation’s Execom submitted a toned-down list of activities for the 2021 Panagbenga which was approved in principle.
No details were provided by Magalong but he said the activities lined up are small activities like barangay and school landscape competitions which will not draw a huge crowd.
Pinero said the BFFFI and the city decided to postpone this year’s festival, despite the toned-down program to avoid a virus spreader event.
Last year, the 25th Panagbenga Festival was canceled from its opening program to the closing in wake of the threat of Covid-19. (PNA)