LAOAG CITY – The first “Buy Ilocos Norte” bazaar, a pop-up event organized by Ilocos Norte’s provincial government to help micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), has been canceled to ensure public safety.
Ilocos Norte Tourism Head Aianree Raquel said in an interview on Friday that they decided to postpone the event indefinitely, along with other planned tourism activities, due to the spike in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections in the province, which stood at 23 as of press time.
On Thursday, Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc confirmed eight new cases of COVID-19 in the cities of Laoag and Batac and the towns of San Nicolas and Badoc, raising the province’s active cases to 17, aside from six recoveries and no death.
Raquel said the people’s health and safety were still top priority, hence, the postponement of the supposedly three-day bazaar that officially began on Thursday.
“We are thankful for the participation of our merchant partners and all guests who supported the bazaar. Through our small activities together, we have shown everyone how we can survive this crisis by taking health and safety measures seriously and by upholding the sense of community that our province is known for,” said an advisory posted in the “Buy Ilocos Norte” Facebook page, an online platform administered jointly by the Provincial Tourism Office and the Provincial Investment Office to help MSMEs embrace the current trend of e-commerce.
Provincial Investment Office staff member, Ace Rumbaoa, reported P100,000 in sales during the opening of the bazaar, which was participated in by at least eight partner merchants.
“This shows people are ready for the trend and we have been receiving a number of applicants and inquiries,” Rumbaoa said.
As of this posting, the “Buy Ilocos Norte” community had 40 partner merchants and the figure is expected to grow in the next few days.