Sipalay City cancels major fiesta events amid Covid-19 threat

By Nanette Guadalquiver

March 6, 2020, 3:57 pm

<p><em>Photo from Sipalay City-LGU Facebook page</em></p>

Photo from Sipalay City-LGU Facebook page

BACOLOD CITY – The City of Sipalay in southern Negros Occidental has canceled big events and mass gatherings for its 19th Charter Anniversary on March 26 to 31 amid the continuing threat of the coronavirus disease (Covid-2019).

Although the celebration will continue, the city government has opted to hold fewer events and focus on smaller gatherings this year.

Mayor Gina Montilla-Lizares issued an executive order dated March 5, a copy of which was uploaded on Sipalay City’s official Facebook page on Thursday, announcing the cancelation of four major events during the charter anniversary and the postponement of the 8th Burangoy Tourism Kite Festival to “ensure the safety of Sipalaynons and guests”.

Suspended events include the 10th Barongoy Fishtival, opening ceremony, “Banda Diri, Banda Didto” drum and lyre competition, and all sports events and competitions such as boxing, skimboarding, volleyball, beach volleyball, and motocross.

“The Sipalay City Government understands that the 19th Charter Anniversary and the 8th Burangoy Tourism Kite Festival draws a large audience and sees this as a risk in contracting Covid-19,” the executive order said.

“The Sipalay City Culture and Arts Council has recommended to prioritize the safety of Sipalaynons,” it added.

It cited the Department of Health advisory issued by Secretary Francisco Duque III, which stated that with the ongoing threat of Covid-19, the public is strongly urged to avoid attending, participating, and organizing events that draw a huge number of attendees.

The 8th Burangoy Tourism Kite Festival has been moved from March 26 to 31 to April although the final dates have yet to be announced.

Sipalay is known for its white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters, attracting both foreign and local tourists seeking a tranquil getaway. Its kite festival, an award-winning tourism event, is one of the biggest in Western Visayas.

Last month, Sipalay’s neighboring town Hinoba-an, the southernmost town of Negros Occidental, suspended barangay fiestas, cockfights, and other public events in February and March due to the Covid-19 scare.

The City of Bago initially canceled its 54th Charter Anniversary celebration set from February 11 to 19.

However, the events have been rescheduled together with the 23rd Babaylan Festival on March 8 to 14.

In the north, Sagay City canceled its annual Sinigayan Festival slated from March 14 to 19 also due to the Covid-19 threat. (PNA)