22 October 2009

No problem with venue transfer to Subic, says AdCon chief

MANILA - Even with just a month left before the big day, organizers of the 21st Philippine Advertising Congress (PAC) are confident that the transfer of the event venue from Baguio City to Subic Bay Freeport would be smooth.

“Tuloy na tuloy ang AdCon (The Advertising Congress will definitely push through),” said Margot Torres, overall chair of the 21st PAC, during a recent briefing at the office of the Philippine Advertising Board (AdBoard) in Makati.

“We are fortunate that Subic is available,” Torres added, noting that the transition from Baguio to Subic would not be difficult because Subic officials and volunteers “had learned quickly” from hosting the 20th PAC in 2007.

Torres also said the organizing committee was “profusely thankful” to Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) administrator Armand Arreza for providing them with an alternative venue.

The PAC, which is scheduled on November 18-21, had to be moved from Baguio due to the badly typhoon-damaged roads leading to the original congress venue.

“The problem lies not with Baguio City itself, but the roads leading to it,” Torres explained, saying that the committee’s decision was made with the delegates’ safety in mind.

She added that the alternative route to Baguio, as proposed by the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), would take nine hours to traverse.

The officials of Camp John Hay, where the event was originally set, understand the AdBoard’s position, Torres added.

She also said that media networks, advertisers and sponsors of the 21st PAC, a biennial event which is considered the advertising industry’s equivalent to the “Oscars,” had confirmed their participation and support upon learning that the alternative venue would be Subic.

“The venue is tailor-fit to our needs,” Torres said, referring to the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center (SBECC) that was purposely refurbished in 2007 to host some 5,000 PAC delegates two years ago.

Meanwhile, Torres said that SBMA Administrator Arreza had given the assurance that Subic’s hotels could now accommodate more than 3,000 delegates.

Torres added that despite the venue transfer, only minor changes would be made to the congress program itself.

From the supposed breakout groups, plenary sessions will be held instead, as the SBECC’s Plenary Hall 1 can seat some 3,500 people.

The congress theme and topics for discussion likewise would remain unchanged, she said, although a slant was introduced to make the event more meaningful and relevant.

Torres added that they will soon launch the AdCon’s “Brand Aid” campaign, which will center on what messages from the advertising industry will be appropriate, especially at times when the Filipino nation is reeling from disasters, like the recent typhoons.

She also revealed that one reason why the PAC could not be postponed was that the industry needed to convene at the soonest time possible to immediately execute plans of action to help flood and typhoon victims.

Torres said Ad Congress organizers had pledged part of the proceeds from the 21st PAC to the Red Cross and other beneficiaries still to be identified by the AdBoard.

“It was even proposed that proceeds from ticket sales in the event’s highlight — the Araw Awards — could be given to the flood victims,” Torres said.

AdBoard representatives will meet with SBMA officials on Friday afternoon to discuss details of the Advertising Congress here. (SBMA Corporate Communications)

The Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center (SBECC) will be the venue of the 21st Philippine Advertising Congress (PAC) on November 18-21. Subic also hosted the 20th PAC in 2007.