The municipality of Murcia in Negros Occidental commemorated its 160th town fiesta in honor of its patroness, Our Lady of the Immaculate Concepcion, with a thanksgiving mass celebrated by Diocese of Bacolod Bishop Patricio Buzon, and Murcia parish priest, Fr. Regner Dequiña, on Dec. 8.
Unlike previous fiestas that were full of pomp and gaiety, this year’s commemoration was more subdued, in line with the health protocols mandated to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019.
“We all want to be happy and experience a joyous celebration, but because of Covid-19, we cannot do this,” Murcia Mayor Victor Gerardo Rojas said in a press release.
“We take this opportunity during our fiesta to highlight and reiterate our gratitude for the selfless and tireless service of our medical professionals and health workers, military, police personnel and force multipliers, barangay and purok officials, municipal employees, and all our frontliners,” he stressed.
Together with Vice-Mayor Johnny Reosura and our councilors, I thank you for your dedication and sacrifice to ensure the safety and well-being of all Murciahanons from the start of the pandemic until now, Rojas added.
After the thanksgiving mass, the mayor officiated a mass wedding at the town gymnasium. He said only eight couples participated because of the pandemic. The past mass weddings that he officiated during the town fiesta attracted 70 to 100 couples.
He also launched “Tindabu-ay 2020” at the public plaza covered court on Dec. 1, where local farmers and entrepreneurs showcased their products, like vegetables, spices, cutflowers and ornamental plants, homegrown coffee, locally-produced peanut butter, cassava chips, baskets and many more.
He said they modified the traditional “Tinabu-ay” theme to emphasize the necessity for Murciahanons to purchase their food needs directly from local producers, particularly in these difficult times.
“By buying directly from local producers, our constituents are assured of fresh and high quality products at reasonable prices, and they also contribute to the faster circulation of money in the local economy,” Murcia first lady Berni Rojas said.
Thanks to the overwhelming patronage of clients not only from Murcia but also from neighboring localities, Mrs. Rojas said the farmers and producers registered robust sales from Dec. 1 to 8, with some stalls compelled to close early because they ran out of products to sell.
Mayor Rojas also led the ceremonial lighting of the Christmas tree and lights at the plaza, and at government buildings. He also turned over a brand new 12-seater Toyota Grandia van to the Office of the Sangguniang Bayan, under Reosura. “During this Christmas season, we should celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ, but we should also protect our health. The safety and well-being of all Murciahanons is among the top priorities of this administration. Continue practicing social distancing, frequent hand washing, and regular wearing of face masks and face shields. Together, we can overcome this pandemic,” Rojas reminded his constituents.*