Sunday, April 21, 2024

Baguio Police All Set To Secure 2 Panagbenga Grand Parades

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Baguio Police All Set To Secure 2 Panagbenga Grand Parades

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The Baguio City Police Office on Friday said security preparations are in place for the two grand parades of the 28th Baguio Flower Festival, more popularly known as Panagbenga, on Feb. 24 and 25.

“We have already conducted series of simulations with different scenarios as part of the readiness of the police for the two major parades,” city policy director Col. Francis Bulwayan said in a media interview.

The city receives thousands of tourists during the Panagbenga, aside from the locals from La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay municipalities.

Bulwayan said “the simulations are continuing activities of the Baguio police to ensure a smooth parade and the effect to the traffic flow.”

He said the parade route will start from Panagbenga Park at the intersection of South Drive, Loakan Road and Upper Session Road towards Session Road, Magsaysay Avenue up to the L-shape overpass at Centermall, then to Sunshine supermarket intersection, straight towards Harrison Road and then to Burnham Park.

He said Burnham Park will be closed to vehicular traffic from 1 a.m. of Feb. 24 until the end of the following day.

Travelers going to Kennon Road, Marcos Highway and Naguilian Roads are advised to take the circumferential roads, the so called “visitors lanes,” to avoid interruption of their travel schedules.

Anthony de Leon, chair of the executive committee of the Panagbenga and president of the Hotels and Restaurants Association of Baguio, hopes visitors will reach the pre-pandemic level of around a million.

“Baguio was among the first places that opened during the pandemic. Panagbenga is telling everyone that we are back in business and that what we do here is safe. We are among the first ones that opened during the pandemic and it says a lot about us as a community, which is very resilient,” he said.

Following the movement restrictions during the pandemic, De Leon said the targeted recovery period was two to three years, but noted that with industry players cooperating to adopt standards, this mountain resort was able to do it in one year.

He said the Panagbenga, which is one of the two major tourist magnets aside from the Christmas season, is helping the city regain its popularity as hotels and tourism investments have again poured in.

“We can easily look at the number of hotels we have now from when we did not have the Panagbenga. It is a clear proof that investment in Baguio is very worthwhile in terms of return on investment,” he added.

Panagbenga was conceptualized 28 years ago to revive the city’s economy after this major tourist destination was badly destroyed by the magnitude 7.8 earthquake on July 16, 1990.

Lawyer Mauricio Domogan, Baguio Flower Festival Foundation chair for life, told the Philippine News Agency, that gains from the city have trickled to neighboring municipalities because tourists also visit surrounding areas when they visit Baguio City. (PNA)