It’s final, Capitol cancels Kaamulan 2020
MALAYBALAY CITY (BukidnonNews.Net/12 February 2020) Bukidnon Governor Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. ordered the cancellation of the Kaamulan 2020, set from March 23 to April 23, due to the threats of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In a memorandum today, Zubiri cancelled the festival “as a proactive measure to keep the people of the province safe from the threat of the highly infectious disease.” He addressed the order to all city and municipal mayors, barangay chairpersons, heads of Kaamulan 2020 committees and tribal leaders.
Zubiri cited Health Sec. Francisco T. Duque III's advisory on concerts and other public events and gatherings, which strongly urged the public to avoid events that draw a big crowd. Duque issued the advisory due to the ongoing threat of the spread of the disease.
“To further minimize the risk of contracting 2019-nCoV ARD, the public is advised to avoid crowded places and continue to practice self-protection measures,” Duque said in the advisory. The World Health Organization issued an announcement officially naming the virus COVID-19. The Philippines has three confirmed COVID-19 cases, including one death.
Zubiri also ordered mayors and barangay chairpersons to cancel all public events and mass gatherings that draw huge number of attendance in their respective areas.
His pronouncement came a day after he spoke at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in favor of proceeding with the celebration. Board member Ranulfo Pepito (4th district) has suggested for a postponement.
Board member Richard Macas, the provincial indigenous peoples’ mandatory representative (IPMR), however, presented two issues against moving the schedule.
He cited the problem of availability of the participants for the different events. He also mentioned the need to amend the existing ordinance, which fixed the dates for the celebration.
The celebration of the annual Kaamulan was fixed by Provincial Ordinance No. 2018-083r (13th SP). This amended section 3 of Ordinance No. 2007-003R (10th-sp), which institutionalized the Kaamulan.
In a vote during the February 11 session, majority of the board members opted to proceed with the celebration.
Sources said, however, that members of the Coronavirus Provincial Task Force, in a meeting in the morning of February 11, decided against holding the celebration due to the threat of the disease.
Hansel T. Echavez, head of the Provincial Public Affairs, Information and Assistance Office, told BukidnonNews.Net the governor held various consultations before his final decision.
Bukidnon-based businesswoman and eco-tourism advocate Maite Abellanosa welcomed the move.
“Prevention is always better than cure. Better be safe than sorry. Though it will affect our tourism sector, it is not worth the risk (to proceed)," she said via SMS.
She said Bukidnon can still survive (with the cancellation) because it can make up some other time.
Former DILG Bukidnon provincial director Ronelo Alvarez hailed the move as a “right decision.”
“We cannot compromise public health safety and welfare over the said festival,” he said in his response to a text query, adding, Davao and General Santos cities cancelled also their respective festivals.
A total of 15 entries were expected to compete in the showdown for the 2020 Kaamulan Street Dancing and Ground presentations originally scheduled for April 18, one of the festival’s highlights.
Aside from the street dancing and ground competitions, participating LGUs will also vie in the float competition. Among the other Kaamulan 2020 activities include the Food Fest, Bazaar, Laga ta Bukidnon, Rodeo, Kaamulan Jam, Sponsor’s Night and Piniliyapan.
Kaamulan started as a festival on May 15, 1974, during the fiesta celebration of the then Municipality of Malaybalay.(With reports from Vergel R. Dolosa/BA English Language intern and Mel B. Madera/BukidnonNews.Net)
Photo: Dancers perform during the 2019 Kaamulan Street dancing competition/BukidnonNews.Net