President Benigno Aquino III and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas have been invited to Negros Oriental to grace the Buglasan Festival in October, Governor Roel Degamo said yesterday.
The province’s annual fiesta celebration and premier social-cultural showcase is set October 16-25 in Dumaguete City, on the theme “Building Friendship Worldwide, Opening Development Opportunities”.
Degamo said Aquino recently signified his intention to attend the Buglasan Festival, along with Roxas, Rep. Roman Romulo and Mark Lapid, chief operating officer of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, an attached agency of the Department of Transportation and Communications, among others.
The provincial government of Negros Oriental has allocated P5 million for this year’s Buglasan, and the budget has already been approved by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, said Degamo, who chairs the Buglasan Committee.
Buglasan 2015 co-chair, Dr. Nick Elman, provincial tourism council head, however, admitted the amount is not sufficient to cover for more than 100 existing, new and revived activities of the Buglasan Festival, and there is need to widely promote and market the event and source in sponsors and donors.
Elman said the province has invited known marketing agents to help sell the Festival at the national and international levels, to attract more tourists to the province.
Two major venues in Dumaguete have been identified for the duration of the festival – the Capitol grounds and the Sidlakang Negros Village – while other activities are also scheduled outside of the City, he added.
Some of the events lined up for this year’s Buglasan include the Lutong Garbo cookfest, agri fair, awarding of Outstanding Oriental Negrenses, Ms. Negros Oriental pageant, grand parade, festival of festivals showcasing the individual cultural presentations of each town and city, a variety of song and dance competitions, concerts, showcase of local products, exhibits, the LGU Freedom Fair booths, fireworks competition, and underwater photo contest.
Elman reassured that the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies will be able to deploy the security requirements for the festival.
Degamo also warned lawless elements, such as pickpockets, not to disrupt the events during the weeklong Buglasan Festival, otherwise they will face the full force of the law.
Meanwhile, the governor said he will follow up on the invitation to the President and the other officials to the Buglasan today, when he heads out to the National Capital Region for the League of Provinces of the Philippines meeting.
Degamo had recently returned to Negros Oriental, after having attended Aquino’s State of the Nation Address, and the official announcement of Roxas as standard bearer of the Liberal Party in the 2016 elections.
At least 12 mayors from Negros Oriental will attend the LPP meeting today in Metro Manila, he added.*JFP