BAGUIO CITY, Feb. 2 (PIA) -- The City Government of Baguio and the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc. opened Thursday the Panagbenga 2018 with a parade and a program with Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque as the guest of honor and speaker.
Roque, in his keynote message, expressed President Rodrigo Duterte’s support to Panagbenga and acknowledged Baguio City as a prime tourist destination in the country and the big role the city plays in pushing the country’s tourism industry forward.
The President’s spokesperson shared some good news to the people of Baguio. He said Pres. Duterte has already signed into law the free tuition fee in all state universities and colleges in the country. He also announced that the President is set to sign a law that will provide free irrigation services to farmers including those in Baguio and Benguet who are mostly producers of vegetables and flowers. This will reduce production cost, and increase productivity and income of farmers.
Roque also cited the President’s Universal Health Care program that aims to provide free medicines and medical care to all Filipinos.
As the national government is pushing for a federal form of government that aims to strengthen the powers of local government units to speed up progress and development in their localities, Roque said the President signified to look into and study the possibility of a Cordillera autonomous region within a Federal state.
The Cordillera Regional Development Council is advocating for autonomy first in the region before federalism.
Roque called for a continuing unity and support of the people in bringing the country forward and in bringing progress and development in the country.
The Panagbenga will last up to March 4 with the highlights of the festival, the Grand Street Dancing and Grand Float Parade on February 24 and 25, respectively.
Now on its 23nd year, the Panagbenga Festival (a Kankaney term for season of blooming) continues to draw thousands of visitors to Baguio. This year’s theme is "Celebration of Culture and Creativity" as Baguio showcases anew its status as a cultural-rich urban center. Carlito C. Dar (JDP/CCD-PIA CAR)