October 18, 2009 in Baguio City
By KATHLEEN T. OKUBO
BAGUIO CITY — Inspite of having won the bid to host the 21st Philippine Advertising Congress (PAC), “fair and square,” as Baguio City Mayor Reinaldo Bautista said, the Advertising Board of the Philippines (Ad Board), organizers of the congress, have chosen to change venue just a month to its date.
Concern of what may happen in the event of another typhoon like Pepeng, some sponsors of the congress have apparently thought of pulling-out too if not given a choice of other venues, an informant said.
In an official statement posted on their website Thursday, at 10:14, Margot Torres, overall chairman of the 21st PAC, said, “In response to inquiries, given recent typhoons, the 21st PAC committee is currently evaluating alternative venues to ensure safety of delegates, sponsors and exhibitors not just at the ad congress venue but the roads they need to take to travel to the site. There is no final decision yet. We are still evaluating our options when it comes to venue. Ad congress dates of November 18 to 21 have not changed.”
Later that day, another release was posted on the same website stating, “The trail of destruction Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng have wreaked across Northern Luzon has forced the Ad Board to hold the 21st PAC closer to Metro Manila.
It is with reluctance that we withdraw from Baguio, for the city has been most supportive and generous to the 21st PAC from the planning stages right until this moment when preparations are near completion.
We have never doubted Baguio’s resilience or its readiness to accommodate the 21st PAC in spite of the disaster. But the further strain thousands of delegates and participants would subject the already weakened Northern Luzon infrastructure to on their way up to Baguio would put their safety and that of the local people’s at risk.
Northern Luzon is still in the process of rebuilding itself, and we must give way to its reconstruction for the safety of everyone. The 21st PAC will proceed as scheduled on November 18 to 21, but will now take place in Subic. The Subic authorities have kindly and readily agreed to host the 21st PAC despite various requirements and the short notice in which to fulfill them.
We will continue to prioritize the safety of the delegates and participants of the 21st PAC as we work with the people of Subic to prepare for the ad congress.
The 21st PAC must push through in the face of calamity. The sufferings of its victims are not lost on the advertising industry, and if there is one thing we learned from our shared tragedy, it is solidarity.
In the aftermath of Ondoy and Pepeng, the 21st PAC is the best time for the industry to come together and reflect on ways to be of service to the typhoonsf victims and to nation rebuilding. Our economy must not come to a standstill. We must take part in fighting back by helping drive the local economy back on its feet.
The 21st PAC is encouraging the whole industry to join our renewed purpose of service to those in most need.
We dedicate the 21st PAC to the victims of the Northern Luzon calamity. Part of our proceeds would be donated to the Red Cross for rehabilitation efforts in Northern Luzon…”
In the Ad Board’s letter delivered to the City Mayor’s office on the morning of Friday, Charmaine Canillas, Ad Board’s over-all chairperson said, “Although Baguio City itself remains unaffected, the roads leading to the city are not.”
On the other hand, the mayor did not hide his disappointment over the cancellation. Evidently, he said, it is not the city being unprepared, but of changes in plans of the organizers. There had also been plans for a “toned-down” Ad Congress, that of donating to typhoon victims, is part of what should be spent for the event, the mayor said.
There are no issue on hotel accommodations or tourism and convention venues, but of the surrounding areas leading to the city, the mayor also clarified. “We have always been prepared and have long prepared for this occasion,” he said.
Meanwhile, members of the Baguio Convention and Visitors Bureau (BCVB), who earlier had text message or informal exchanges with members of the Ad Board before the formal notification planned to negotiate yet for the board to reconsider its pull-out.
Other members, especially those in the service industry of hotels and restaurants, however, thought it best to move on with plans for the recovery of the city and local business even without the ad congress may have contributed to the city’s recovery.”
Councilor Perlita Chan – Rondez, head of the BCVB said that “the City is very disappointed with the backing-out of the Ad congress but there are other big conventions to come like the civil engineers convention on Nov 26 and the world ‘s biggest amatuer Fil-Am golf tournament.”
The city is ready to launch an aggressive tourism recovery drive to show that Baguio is sa safe destination and to market the city with promotion programs in cooperation with members of the tourism industry,” she said. # nordis.net