For the first time in four decades, Bacolod will not celebrate the world-famous MassKara Festival in October as the city continues to battle the rising cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
After cases here breached the 3,000-mark over the weekend, Mayor Evelio Leonardia issued Executive Order (EO) 62 on Monday suspending the festival’s public celebration and all related revelries or activities to comply with the health and safety protocols in stemming the local spread of infections.
“Facts and scientific studies supported by empirical data have undoubtedly established that mass gatherings can be an effective channel of transmitting and spreading infections, like the Covid-19, among the population thus, this EO is called for,” Leonardia said.
He added that the fight of Bacolod against Covid-19, especially based on experiential facts and empirical data in its locality and at its neighboring local government units, is a call for self-reliance in its partnership with the national government.
As of Sunday night, Bacolod has 3,260 confirmed cases, including 1,839 recoveries which comprise 56.41 percent of the total number. The city still has 1,371 active cases (42.06 percent), and 50 deaths (1.54 percent).
Moreover, Leonardia said the Business Permits and Licensing Office will not issue any permit or license to operate any form of activities or events in connection with the 2020 MassKara Festival, adding that any permit or license that may have already been issued or granted before EO 62 is deemed revoked or cancelled.
The mayor also requested the City Council to avoid the issuance of any permit or license for any activity or event related with the festival celebration, and to act in revoking the same if there has been a prior issuance.
The MassKara Festival, now on its 41st year, is held every October, with an ordinance setting the fourth Sunday of October as the permanent date of the highlights.
Since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016, he has attended the festival three times.
Duterte was the first-ever chief executive to have graced the opening of the MassKara Festival during its 37th edition on October 2, 2016.
The following year, the President was present during the festival highlights on October 22.
In 2018, Duterte said he came to Bacolod anew because he found MassKara “beautiful and enjoyable”, adding that the festival tells an inspiring story of the Filipinos’ resilience.
“It is proof that despite the many struggles we face, we can overcome any adversity through cooperation and perseverance,” the President added. (PNA)