Baguio’s Panagbenga finally cancelled

BAGUIO CITY — The Baguio Flower Festival was finally cancelled Monday afternoon after a closed-door meeting of the inter-agency task force on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 or COVID-19 with Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong.

The inter-agency task force is composed of the officials of the Baguio City Government headed by Magalong, the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc. (BFFFI), Department of Health (DOH) Cordillera, Department of Education (DepEd) Cordillera, the Baguio City Police Office and other agencies and individuals.

The task force convened Monday morning at the DOH Cordillera Training Center to assess the present situation and developments of COVID-19 infection in the country.

From only six persons found positive of the virus over the weekend, the Department of Health revealed 4 more cases on Sunday and another 10 in a press briefing Monday afternoon, bringing the country’s total infection to 20.

Baguio residents have been demanding for government and organizers of the annual Panagbenga festival to cancel the event due to fears that the virus infection might emerge in the city with the influx of tourists who could be virus carriers.

The opening parade was initially re-scheduled on March 21 and the Grand Street Dancing and Grand Float Parade on March 28 and 29, 2020, followed by a week-long Session Road in Bloom where Baguio’s main thoroughfare would have been closed to vehicular traffic and converted into an area for dining, shops and performances.

The Office of the City Mayor, officials of BFFFI and the executive committee of the Panagbenga 2020 recommended the cancellation “to ensure the safety of everyone.”

Magalong also announced that the city government has decided to temporarily close the “Ukay-ukay Night Market” at Harrison Road.