Sagada Flags Team To Shoot For Duterte’s 4th SONA

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BAGUIO CITY –  The Sagada COVID-19 task force denied the entry of a team of famous movie and TV director Joyce Bernal, supposedly on a mission to shoot sceneries and sequences in Sagada, Mountain Province to serve as background for the upcoming State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Sagada Municipal Vice Mayor Felicito Dula wrote a letter to Fern Castro, the coordinator from the Malacanang Presidential Broadcast Staff-RTVM on Sunday explaining that while they are grateful that their town was chosen as the background of the SONA, they cannot allow the said activity because of their protocols as part of their defense against the entry of COVID19 in Sagada. 

Castro reportedly sought the Sagada town officials on July 3 via a letter to Sagada Mayor James Pooten Jr. and the Municipal Disaster Risk and Management Officer (MDRRMO) seeking permission if a team under Bernal can shoot videos in Sagada.

Attached to the letter was an authorization letter signed by Dennis Wilfred P. Pabalan, Executive Director of the Malacanang Presidential Broadcast Staff-RTVM.  

Said letter was said to be received in the afternoon of Friday where the employees are already going home.

The video materials will be used during the SONA scheduled on the 3rd week of July.

While a meeting of the Sagada Covid-19 task force was ongoing to discuss the matter, an advance party of Bernal’s team went to Sagada  on Sunday escorted by the police proceeding to Sagada Cellar Door Inn.

They were reportedly denied accommodation by the management of Sagada Heritage Village in accordance the local guideline that all tourism establishments continue to be suspended or closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sagada Cellar Door Inn manager Andrew Chinalpan and Bernal were called to attend the ongoing meeting where the Task Force explained the sentiments of the body standing up to their standing ban of such activity yet.

Bernal reportedly accepted the decision and apologized to the members of the task force.

Bernal’s team left Sagada Monday morning after they were allowed to spend a night’s rest at the Cellar Door Inn since they are already there   and ensure their vehicles are ready for the long trip back to Manila, according to Mayor Pooten.

Artemio A. Dumlao