Panagbenga grand parades off limits to politicians

BAGUIO CITY — The organizing committee of the Baguio Flower Festival or “Panagbenga” has prohibited candidates in the mid-term polls from joining the grand parades on March 2 and 3.

During a press briefing on Wednesday, organizing committee co-chairman Anthony de Leon said candidates for national and local positions will not be allowed to join these parades, saying “they will be given a place at the grandstand of the Athletic Bowl together with the others.”

De Leon said politicians will only be allowed to watch the performances and field demonstrations.

The organizing committee also said that only competitors, official entries, and contingents from elementary, high school, college and open category shall be allowed to join the grand street dance parade. Only registered float entries and performing bands are allowed to jointhe grand float parade.

The panel also noted that no political personalities may join the grand parades in any form or manner. Only incumbent local officials of the city may join the parade.

The peace and order committee is tasked to politely remove political personalities not covered by the exceptions, which shall be done in the presence of the accredited media group of the Panagbenga festival.

Politicians opting to sponsor any contingent or float entry during the grand parades may do so but cannot require the contingent or float to advertise, carry, distribute or display any of their streamers, banners, posters, leaflets, merchandise that bears the politician’s name, political party or pictures.

Contingent violating the rule will be automatically disqualified from the competition and will not be allowed to join the parade.

De Leon said the grand parades are not political events and should not be construed as one.

“It is a flower festival parade and the organizing committee shall strictly implement the guidelines,” de Leon said.

The organizers released the guidelines to avoid a repeat of past incidents where politicians used the festival to campaign. (PNA –