MEMBERS of Baguio City Council are fuming over stall extensions and a carnival operating at Burnham Park.
Vice Mayor Edison Bilog did not try to pacify the anger of council members in an emergency Council session Thursday afternoon which dealt with a surplus of over 100 stalls and the operation of a carnival at the Baguio Blooms area operated by winning bidder, Maribel Chagwaten, with the blessings of the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc. (BFFFI).
Chagwaten was a no show in the session despite summons. The Council summoned City Treasurer Alex Cabarrubias who confirmed the 225 stalls bidded at the P8.5 million has been breached. Cabarubuias said to count of the city treasurer’s inspection team, there are now 325 stalls in Burnham area with a carnival in operation.
The excess stalls and the carnival operation has no business permits. Councilor Leandro Yangot, chair of the committee of market trade and commerce, said he is appalled by the extension and the addition of the carnival. Councilor Faustino Olowan in his frustration admonished if irregularities continue, it is better to not allow any trade fairs in the future celebrations of the BFFFI.
Councilor Maylen Yaranon, meanwhile, said it will be best to look for other groups to come in to manage the festival as a whole and refrain from tapping the BFFFI who is chaired by the chief executive.
Datuin said Chagwaten wrote the city to add to the original 225 agreed upon stalls asking for 16 more stalls for the price of P400,000. The payment was made to the BFFFI and not the city treasurer’s office as mandated by the earlier administrative order of the chief executive.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan allowed the request of Chagwaten and reportedly paid the amount to the BFFFI. Datuin said the payment was affirmed by the BFFFI with official receipts to prove the transaction. An exasperated Datuin said the carnival and the decisions on the conduct of the festival is the call of the BFFFI. "The bidding was done by the BFFFI with terms of reference with a bond given," added Datuin. As of press time, the council is deliberating on closure of the excess stalls and carnival.
By By Ma. Elena Catajan