The Indian community will honor 10 individuals during the Grand Diwali Ball at SMX Convention Center in Bacolod City tonight in celebration of 7th Diwali Festival that opened yesterday at the Atrium of SM City-Bacolod.
This year’s theme is “Celebrating a Century of Indian Presence in Negros.”
Festival coordinator Haresh Chugani yesterday said those who will be given recognition are Pushpa Menghnani-Tan, Champa Gidwani, Guppreet Kaur Deol, Rajaudar Kaur, former Councilor Em Ang, Dr. Norma Diy, Dr. Norma Mirasol-San Juaqin, Shingara Singh Sekhon, businessman Oscar “Dodong” Bascon, and Dr. Fortunato Eusebio.
Chugani said they will also honor Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya, Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran and City Administrator John Orola.
He said they always give recognition to Mayor Evelio Leonardia every time they celebrate Diwali.
Leonardia re-assured the Indian community in Bacolod City of the city’s constant support and cooperation, during the opening of the 7th Diwali Festival or the “Festival of Lights”, yesterday.
“With Diwali as an official and regular festival in Bacolod, aside from other festivals like the MassKara Festival, we are by now the city with the most number of festivals in the Philippines,” he said.
Leonardia said that “With all the festivals that we have, which have their own roots, meaning and significance, I cannot imagine and it is totally unacceptable to me, that we will have a series of festivals without the Diwali Festival, because its presence and that of the Indian community is an indispensable part of Bacolod.”
He said his administration is totally conscious of Diwali and the existence and presence of the Indian community. “We will plan for the future of Bacolod having you in mind as part and parcel of our beloved city,” he added.
Leonardia said that this is probably the only city outside of Metro Manila that has institutionalized the Indian festival, which is as big and as colorful and as promising as its other major festivals.
Councilor Israel Salanga said the city will always be supportive of their activities and also thanked the Indian community for their contribution to the local economy.
Davinder Singh, a member of the Indian Sikh Temple, said Diwali is celebrated in India and worldwide every month of October. The Indian nationals have very strong ties with the Philippines and they have even a temple in Paco, Manila that dates back to 1925.
Singh said the Indian community has been engaged in business in the province and have shared cultural activities with the locals. They have a population of about 1,000 in Negros Occidental.
Meanwhile, Diwali chairman Malkit Singh said they are preparing to submit to the city their liquidation report for the 2017 Diwali Festival.
This year’s Diwali Festival is sponsored by the Punjabi Khalsa Diwan Inc. and the Indian Sikh Temple.
The Bacolod Sangguniang Panlungsod recently approved the amount of P1.5 million in financial assistance for the 7th Bacolod Diwali Festival with a collatilla that the organizers should liquidate their past expenses.*
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