MASSKARADE BALL. Presidential son, Ilocos Norte 1st District Rep. Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” Marcos (center), with Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (2nd from right), Negros Occidental 3rd District Rep. Jose Francisco Benitez (right), Victorias City Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez (left) and his girlfriend, actress Sue Ramirez, at the Masskarade Ball: A Charity Dinner held in the SMX Convention Center Bacolod on Friday night (Oct. 21, 2022). The event, which benefited the H.O.P.E. Volunteers Foundation Inc.’s Operation Smile, was also graced by First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos. (Photo courtesy of Albee Benitez's Facebook page)

BACOLOD CITY – Ilocos Norte 1st District Rep. Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” Marcos has lauded the return of this city’s Masskara Festival as he thanked the people of Bacolod for supporting the call of his father, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, for unity.

“I think that this festival should not be overlooked nor should it be played down. Not only because Masskara is now up and running again and Bacolod is opening up to the rest of the country, but it shows that the Philippines is finally opening up again after Covid-19,” the presidential son said in his message during the "Masskarade Ball: A Charity Dinner" held in the SMX Convention Center on Friday night, where his mother, First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos, was the guest of honor.

“That, to me is a very heartwarming sign, it is a very encouraging one,” he added.

The young Marcos said the 43rd Masskara Festival is also “clearly an indication that Bacolod, under the leadership of Mayor Albee Benitez, is destined for bigger and greater things.”

The three-week festivities, which will climax this weekend with the Electric Masskara float, along with street and arena dance competitions, are being held after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

Sandro thanked the guests, which included VIPs from various sectors in the city and celebrities from Manila, for taking up the role that the President has echoed and asked of the Filipinos.

“That is one of encouraging message of unity, encouraging message that requires all of us to work together and be partners in progress. I wish all of you a happy Masskara Festival,” he said.

In his message, Benitez thanked the First Lady for gracing the charity event.

“Thank you (for) accepting the invitation. It is our great pride that you are here today, and it makes the festival even more successful,” he said.

The event’s beneficiary, the H.O.P.E. Volunteers Foundation, Inc.’s Operation Smile, which provides free surgery for children with cleft lip and cleft palate, received PHP100,000 from festival organizer Bacolod Yuhum Foundation. (PNA)