The “Mother of All Festivals’ in Negros Occidental started its 9-day celebration Saturday morning, with the opening of two permanent structures for farmers and livestock raisers to sell their crops and animals year-round at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Barangay Mansilingan, Bacolod City.
Panaad sa Negros Festival, on its 25 th year, highlighted the “fulfilled promise” to diversify the mono-crop sugar economy of the province, as it opened various festival sites that present different industries in Negros.
Highlighting the event was the opening of the P20-million Organik na Negros Village. The Negros First Animal Hub also opened after its construction started in the fourth quarter of 2017.
These two villages will be permanent sites for the Negrense farmers, livestock raisers, and agricultural organizations to trade their goods year-round.
Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino and Provincial Veterinarian, Dr. Renante Decena, both said that the respective villages are not yet 100 percent complete but they can now sell goods and other related activities for the development of the farmers and livestock raisers.
Other festival sites opened yesterday were the Trade Fair Expo, Festival Costume Display, Panaad Garden Show, Panaad Food Park, and the Bamboo Village.
Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. said with these villages, the hope to create a brighter future for the farmers and livestock raisers will be possible as the quality of products from Negros is very competitive globally.
He also led the turnover of P17 million worth of Provincial Veterinary Office projects during the Hog Raisers Day at the Livestock Village.
The 32 themed pavilions of the local government units of the province also opened yesterday, displaying various products and images of the tourism attractions located in their areas.
The simultaneous opening of festival sites was led by Marañon, Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, Sangguniang Panlalawigan members, and other government officials.
The governor urged Negrenses to thank God for the blessings, as he expressed hopes for a progressive province in the next years, through the people’s cooperation and hardwork.
The 25 th Panaad focused on the theme, “The Promise Fulfilled”, that emphasized the pledge of the provincial government to diversify the Negros economy apart from its mono-crop industry, after the sugar crises during the 1980s, festival director, Ma. Lina Sanogal, said.
During the opening, Marañon said that after 25 years, many changes have been seen in the province and progress will continue in the next 25 years.
“The dream of Panaad is ultimately to reduce poverty in Negros, so that every family eats at least five times a day, including two snacks,” he said.
“With these problems, we came up with the festival to gather every town and city of Negros to promote their products apart from sugar,” Sanogal said, adding, “And after 25 years, many have already changed not just in the festival but also in the industries that rise in province.”*MLG
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