Bazaar suit won’t stop Miss Universe bets’ Baguio tour
BAGUIO CITY—The Baguio tour of Miss Universe candidates will proceed on Jan. 18 in spite of the legal issues affecting a bazaar organized to raise funds for hosting them in the city, Mayor Mauricio Domogan said on Monday.
The city government has scheduled clean-up drives and village leaders have been encouraged to spruce up their neighborhoods because the Baguio tour would be documented by a film crew for the global broadcast of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia Arena on Jan. 30.
The bazaar was supposed to operate at Burnham Park from Dec. 1 to 30, but it was stopped by a Baguio court because it violated an ordinance prohibiting trade fairs from using public parks.
Judge Maria Ligaya Itliong-Rivera of the Regional Trial Court here on Nov. 29 slapped the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio (HRAB) with a preliminary injunction that would lapse in January, rendering the Burnham Park bazaar project moot.
The Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevco) has offered to host the bazaar at the CAP John Hay Convention Center. “This may be the first and only time we will get the Miss Universe contestants in Baguio, so we want to make sure everything is ready for them,” Domogan said.
The Burnham Park bazaar would have generated as much as P9 million which would have helped defray the P25-million fee HRAB committed to the Miss Universe Organization, the pageant organizer. HRAB had advanced P14 million and would pay the balance in installments.
HRAB said it was tapping sponsors, donors and other financial sources to help spend for the candidates’ travel to and from Baguio as well as their lodging and food requirements.
More than 20 candidates are expected to visit the presidential Mansion, Camp John Hay and the Philippine Military Academy. The visit has been designed as a preview of the 2017 staging of the Baguio Flower Festival in February, one of the biggest crowd drawers here.
“So I have asked HRAB to allow the candidates to parade on Session Road. Originally, because of security concerns, the candidates would be parading in floats along South Drive [the road leading to the Baguio Country Club where the Miss Universe delegates would be billeted],” Domogan said. —VINCENT CABREZA