Philippine agencies given clearance for public events

The Panagbenga flower festival was one of the major cancellations this month

A joint statement from three Philippine agencies was issued today to approve the staging of large-scale public events, following an earlier Department of Health advisory against organising and attending concerts and events with huge crowds last week.

The Department of Health advisory, which was issued in a bid to contain the Covid-19 outbreak, had resulted in a number of events being cancelled and rescheduled.

The Panagbenga flower festival was one of the major cancellations this month

Tourism undersecretary Arturo Boncato Jr said in a press briefing at the Malacanang presidential palace yesterday that the message to be conveyed now is that large events and activities can proceed for as long as all the health and safety protocols and precautionary measures are in place.

Department of Education (DepEd) secretary Leonor Briones hopes that the clarificatory statement will bring about the continuation of various events.

Briones noted that the DepEd is a “big contributor to local tourism” because its events usually have large delegations with numerous spectators, contributing not only to the venue but also to hotels, food and suppliers of equipment.

Briones said the Palarong Pambansa, DepEd’s flagship sports programme to be held in May can easily attract 30,000 people, adding that with the clarificatory statement, the some local governments may also change their mind about canning student graduation ceremonies.

Cancelled events this month include the DepEd’s National Schools Press Conference, National Festival of Talents, and the National Science and Technology Fair.

The Philippine Sports Commission also cancelled several events including the National Sports Summit 2020, Philippine National Games, and Youth Games Batang Pinoy, while recommending the postponement of the 2020 ASEAN Para Games slated for next month in Clark, Pampanga.

Meanwhile, the Cultural Center of the Philippines earlier cancelled events happening this month and next such as the Pasinaya Festival, considered the country’s biggest multi-arts festival; the three-week-long Baguio’s Panagbenga flower festival; and the month-long celebrations for Davao Day.

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