The 11 th BacoLaodiat Festival that ushers in the Year of the Monkey went on as scheduled yesterday despite budgetary constraints as the authorization for the release of its financial aid of P4 million from the city government is still pending with the Bacolod Sangguniang Panlungsod.
Festival chairman Jennifer Ong officially opened the festival yesterday during a program at the 888 Premier Mall.
Bacolod Rep. Evelio Leonardia, suspended Mayor Monico Puentevella, acting Mayor Greg Gasataya, acting Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, Councilors Em Ang, Caesar Distrito, Roberto Rojas, former BacoLaodiat chairmen William Ong, Leonito Lopue, Andres Valencia, Alfredo Barcelona, were joined by the Tsinoy community during the grand parade from the North Capito, Road to the 888 Premier Mall.
Puentevella only joined the opening of the Imperial Village and the Chopsticks Alley at the North Capitol Road but left with Councilor Archie Baribar before the program started at the 888 Premier Mall.
Ong said they are happy that both parties, referring to Puentevella and Gasataya, have given their commitment to the festival and they are hoping that eventually things will turn out for the better.
She said Puentevella extended his support to the BacoLaodiat Festival and also committed to release the budget of P4 million when he returns to City Hall next week.
The 90-day preventive suspension Puentevella was meted by the Sandiganbayan in relation to the graft case filed against him that stemmed from the alleged overpriced purchase of computers and software packages at P400,000 each, all worth P26 million in 2001 to 2006, funded from his Priority Development Assistance Fund, or pork barrel, during his incumbency as congressman of Bacolod City, will end on February 14.
Ong said they are also happy that people came to celebrate the Bacolaodiat Festival and they hope that they will forget about their problems and enjoy the festival.
Leonardia congratulated the Chinese community for continuing the staging of the festival despite the financial constraints they encountered.
He recalled that it was during his time as mayor 10 years ago, when the BacoLaodiat Festival was started after he brought officials of the Chinese community to Iloilo to observe how they celebrated their Chinese New Year.
When they returned to Bacolod they also did their own Chinese new year celebration and did it better, Leonardia said.
“I think the Bacolaodiat Festival has become bigger, although I know it is problematic. In fact, the festival chairman wished that this festival will be free from pressure or problems,” he said.
Leonardia said the Chinese community is doing the festival on their own now when it is supposed to be supported by the city.
“We all know who created this problem. And because of their sabotage, the 2016 budget was not approved and when this budget will be approved and released later on, someone will turn out the hero," he said.
Leonardia said the BacoLaodiat Festival is a celebration of the whole city and he hopes that this should be taken care of.
He lauded the Tsinoys who poured in their resources in order to push through with the festival with the hope that the city will release what was promised to them.
Also present at the opening were Leonardia's partymates under Grupo Progreso Cindy Rojas, Elmer Sy, Bart Orola, Marlon Solidum, and former vice mayor Renecito Novero.
The Dazzling Grand Parade from Lacson Street to 888 Premier Mall was followed by a cultural show participated in by different Chinese schools in the city.
Meanwhile, the Chopsticks Alley and Imperial Village at the North Capitol Road will open at 4 p.m. today, while the 3rd Robinsons Singing Master will happen at Robinsons Place Bacolod at 3pm.
The St. John's Institute Night at 888 Premier Mall and Kapamilya Karavan with special guest, Michael Pangilinan, will be held at 5 p.m. at the main stage of the Chopsticks Alley at the North Capitol Road followed by a cooking demo by the Bacolod Academy of Culinary Arts.
The night will be filled with entertainment during the Corporate Night, brought by the festival sponsors.
A parade of mascots from 13 th Street to the North Capitol Road will start at 4 p.m. tomorrow to be followed by the Megaworld Zumba Street Party at the festival site at 5 p.m.
This will be followed a lantern dance competition at 6 p.m. at Lacson Street and the awarding of the Monkey King Lantern Making Contest and announcement of the top 3 Lantern Dance winners at 10:30 at the North Capitol Road.
The countdown to the Chinese New Year will start at 11:30 p.m. and will be capped by fireworks display “Symphony of Lights and Sparks” at 12 midnight.*CGS
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