Cordillera LGUs cancel, postpone annual festival

By Liza Agoot

January 19, 2021, 7:13 pm

BAGUIO CITY – With the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic including the reported more contagious UK variant, several local government units (LGUs) in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) have decided to call-off or postpone their annual festivals scheduled in February.

Sagada Mayor James Pooten Jr. announced the cancellation of the annual Etag Festival that is scheduled for the first week of February.

Originally set from Jan. 30 to Feb. 4, Pooten ordered the cancellation of the festivity upon the recommendation of the municipal council to prevent the further spread of the virus.

“It is with a heavy heart that we have to arrive at a decision to cancel our annual town fiesta and its festivities, but bearing in mind the health and well-being of the members of our community, this is the best course of action that we need to take,” said Pooten in a post on social media.

Pooten said with the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in his municipality and in the entire Mountain Province, the possible re-opening of Sagada to tourists will be put on hold to ensure the safety and health of the people.

Benguet's capital town of La Trinidad also posted on social media the cancellation of the 2021 annual Strawberry Festival.

Kalinga province also announced on Jan. 18 that their 5th Bodong Festival is suspended. This coincides with the Foundation anniversary of Kalinga every Feb. 14, the date it was separated from Apayao province.

“The observance and commemoration of the province's 26th Founding Anniversary will be through a simple thanksgiving mass following all minimum health and safety protocols on February 14, 2021,” the local government said in a post on its official social media account.

Kalinga province has been recording a surge in cases. On Jan. 18, it logged a record-high single day Covid-19 cases of 108. This brought the province’s active cases to 322.

The provincial government of Apayao has yet to announce whether the province’s Say-am Festival that coincides with its foundation anniversary celebration this year will be canceled.

The city government here also announced on Jan. 16 that the Flower Festival or “Panagbenga” is postponed to a later date.

The media sub-committee of the Executive Committee of the Flower Festival Foundation announced that the continuation of the month-long festival which is among the top crowd-drawing event in the country will be re-scheduled after an assessment based on the developments of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Department of Health (DOH) in the Cordillera has welcomed the cancellation and postponement of the events as protection of the residents from the dreaded Covid-19 virus.

On Jan. 18, the region logged a record-high single day Covid-19 statistics of 329 bringing Cordillera’s active cases to 1,594.

Abra province has 19 active cases, Apayao, 23; Baguio City, 505; Benguet, 404; Ifugao, 90; Mountain Province, 231; and Kalinga has 322.

Cordillera’s total number of cases has reached 8,504 since March 2020. (PNA