BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
More than two years after COVID 19-pandemic, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. yesterday declared the country is now ready for “normalcy”.
Marcos Jr., who spoke at the culmination of the MassKara Festival at the Paglaum Sports Complex in Bacolod City, after attending a series of activities in the cities of Talisay Bacolod, said “we feel that not only Bacoleños, but all of us Filipinos, that we are ready to back to normalcy, to improves our lives, and the whole Philippines,” citing the successful holding MassKara Festival.
He said that the pandemic has started to be under control, as Filipinos already learned how to manage it.
Marcos Jr. congratulated Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez for holding what he described as the “most successful festival in history in Bacolod City.”
After two years, we will now open our doors for all visitors, not only in other areas in the country, but all over the world, he added.
In his speech during a lunch in Talisay City, Marcos said “It is a good thing to remind people that the pandemic may have been difficult, the pandemic really put us through the wringer. But we are back.”
The president said that the MassKara Festival signaled not just the opening of Bacolod City to tourists, but also the entire country.
“It is time for us to go back and exercise once again, show once again the Filipino resilience, the Filipino resourcefulness, the Filipino industry, the Filipino talent, ipakita naman natin sa buong mundo dahil nagbubukas ang mundo, dahil nagbubukas ang Pilipinas, ito ngayon ang MassKara Festival ay isang pagdiriwang hindi lamang sa pagbubukas ng Bacolod kung hindi sa buong Pilipinas (let us show the world because the Philippines is now open, this MassKara festival is a celebration of the opening of Bacolod and the entire Philippines),” the president said.
Despite the festival being borne out of “a very sad period in the history of Bacolod”, Marcos Jr. said it also symbolizes Filipinos’ “reemergence from a crisis.”
“That is what we celebrate today and that is what we see that people are feeling and that is the feeling that we want to continue to encourage within our people because that is what’s going to lead us to success,” he said.
Founded in October 1980 by the late Bacolod City Mayor Jose “Digoy” Montalvo Jr., the MassKara Festival was first held following two major tragedies that befell Negrenses – the collapse of sugar prices in the international market and the sinking of the Negros Navigation vessel M/V Don Juan.
Marcos Jr. also lauded the Benitez administration for the launching of BacCHP (Bacolod City Health Care Program), which provides free hospitalization and annual consultations and the soon to be launched social pension program for senior citizens.
Before attending the culminating activities of the MassKara Festival, Marcos was at the inauguration of the 34-hectare The Upper East Megaworld township marker in Bacolod City.
He also distributed P88 million worth of cheques to farmer organizations to nine farmer organizations, that will be benefit 1,835 farmers, and distributed palay seeds and equipment in Negros Occidental.
During a brief stopover in Talisay City, Marcos awarded the checks to leaders and representatives of the nine farmer organizations under the Philippine Rural Development Project of the Department of Agriculture, benefiting 1,835 farmers from the different municipalities and cities of Negros Occidental.
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson received from President Marcos the Certificate of Award for the palay seeds intended to 100 farmers in the province under the DA’s Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund. Around 52,249 hectares are covered by the assistance for planting.* with PNA reports