Bets told to stay out of Baguio’s flower festival
BAGUIO CITY—Candidates for national and local posts in the May 9 elections will be “politely removed” from the Panagbenga or Baguio Flower Festival parades next month, according to the festival organizers.
Panagbenga will stage its tourist-drawing grand street dancing parade on Feb. 27 and its grand float parade on Feb. 28, which are within the Feb. 9-May 7 campaign period for national candidates. Local candidates can start campaigning on March 26.
“No political personalities may join the grand parades in any form or manner, except for incumbent local officials of Baguio,” the organizers said.
They said a committee of the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc. (BFFFI) has been tasked to block or remove candidates from the parades, “in the presence of the accredited media group of the Panagbenga.”
The candidates are not prohibited from sponsoring a street dancing group or a float that will take part in the parades, they said. But the groups and floats cannot carry political advertisements or display the names of candidates. The floats which defy this rule will not be allowed to join the parade, they said.
The flower festival is the city’s biggest crowd drawer but it also runs the risk of being infiltrated by candidates during election season.
Organizers of famous festivals elsewhere have been wary of politicians riding on the events.
The distaste for politicians riding on every opportunity to make themselves popular has given rise to the term “epal,” which means attention seekers or grabbers.
Epal politicians manifest themselves in posters or streamers carrying their names and faces and greeting happy holidays or happy anniversary or happy graduation.
Many streets in heavily populated areas are particularly vulnerable to the practice, with electric posts and walls being covered in posters of epal candidates. Inquirer Northern Luzon
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