By Alex P. Vidal
“Generally, when I come to festivals, I just wander freely and see what happens.”— St. Lucia
I NORMALLY don’t mention names of personalities involved, but some of the reasons why the Dinagyang Festival remains to be one of the most popular religious and cultural events in the Philippines is because of the following:
- TEAMWORK. All-out support from the city and provincial governments, the private sector, national and local advertisers, the Philippine National Police, and the national tourism office;
- PROPER MANAGEMENT. It is being handled by very competent and credible personalities in the private sector with workforce and logistical support form the City Hall;
- MEDIA. Many Iloilo writers are also correspondents of national broadsheets and they keep the readers worldwide updated via the internet on the day to day programs and events that unfold, aside from their comprehensive and well-researched articles, in the week-long affair.
Also, many Iloilo-based TV and radio reporters regularly give the public detailed updates in the national and international levels and their stories are seen and heard nationwide and in other countries both by OFWs and foreigners who are lovers of culture, festivals, and history. Social media platforms also play a key role in the promotion and information dissemination. Netizens are some of the most effective influencers in society today.
That’s why it isn’t right for some national media networks to zero in only in Cebu’s Sinulog and Kalibo’s Ati-Atihan festivals and skip or ignore Iloilo’s Dinagyang when they make a report about the cultural and religious events related to the feast of Senor Santo Nino.
Dinagyang, with its storied past and magnificent presentations, holds a special place in the hearts of devotees even from other regions, provinces, cities, and municipalities nationwide.
Dinagyang has improved by leaps and bounds over the years and is now known worldwide—in the USA, Australia, Japan, Korea, UK, many parts of Europe—because of the word of the mouth, media technology, and positive remarks from visiting foreigners.
The choreography in the ati competitions is at par—if not better—with the mardi gras even in New Orleans, Rio De Janeiro, and the Polynesian festivals.
I DON’T agree with Jeffrey “Ka Eric” Celiz on various issues and some characters he has been associated with, but I will defend to death his right to speak out his mind (thank you, Voltaire). In the spirit of fair play, below is Celiz’s rejoinder in toto on their latest tiff versus former senator Ping Lacson:
“My latest rejoinder to Former Sen. Ping Lacson on his claims of our so called “acts of bullying??” against Mayor Magalong of Baguio City–by Jeffrey “Ka Eric” Celiz
“Speaking out the truth and standing by real truthful exposition about the different modus operandi of the CPP-NPA-NDF and their colluders and enablers, is not bullying but rather a noble duty for our country and our people.
“Bullying is when you abuse power and position, especially public office, against the weak and helpless, for purpose of self gratification and self glorification.
“FORMER SEN. PING LACSON MUST BE REMINDED THAT PUBLIC OFFICE IS A PUBLIC TRUST, AND IT CARRIES WITH IT THE MANDATORY ACCOUNTABILITY OF EVERY PUBLIC OFFICIAL THAT OCCUPIES A PUBLIC OFFICE. IT IS NEVER A POSITION OF PRIVILEGE, NEITHER IT IS AN ABSOLUTE GRANT OF ENTITLEMENT.
“Public scrutiny and criticisms are essential processes of ensuring ACCOUNTABILITY IN PUBLIC OFFICE. THAT IS WHAT SMNI, LABAN KASAMA ANG BAYAN PROGRAM AND PASTOR QUIBOLOY, DR. LORRAINE BADOY AND JEFFREY “KA ERIC” CELIZ ARE DOING.
“Former Sen. Ping Lacson must never overlook the fact the Mayor Magalong is a public official and so therefore, he is not immune from public scrutiny and criticisms. These are part of his OATH OF OFFICE that Mayor Magalong, just like every public official must be open to public scrutiny and criticisms— and such must NOT BE CONSIDERED AS BULLYING.
“Also, former Sen. Ping Lacson needs to be reminded that his support for the funding of NATIONAL TASK FORCE TO END LOCAL COMMUNIST ARMED CONFLICT/NTF ELCAC, as well as the Anti-Terrorism Law are part of his duties and obligation to our people and to our country. “Those acts of Former Sen. Ping Lacson were part of his mandated accountability and sworn duty when he was a Senator of this Republic. He should not consider it as a debt of gratitude of our people to him.
“These fundamental essence and purpose of PUBLIC OFFICE and PUBLIC RESPONSIBILITY MUST BE CONSTANTLY REMINDED TO FORMER SEN. PING LACSON AND TO MAYOR MAGALONG – INCLUDING THE CONSISTENT REMINDER that the CPP-NPA-NDF are simultaneously and deliberately executing their operations and modus operandi, both in the armed terrorism operations in the rural areas, and in their duplicitous mode of urban infiltration operations; the reason why we are exposing the real truth about the real enemies’ spectrum of operations and exposing as well their manipulations and deception. By doing so, we are not making an act of “bullying” but rather our own citizens’ patriotic duty for our country and our people, because the REAL SOVEREIGN POWER AND AUTHORITY OF OUR DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY RESTS WITH, AND EMANATES FROM THE PEOPLE – and Pastor Quiboloy, Dr. Lorraine Badoy and I, Ka Eric, are part of the TRUE AND REAL SOVEREIGN, as we belong to the people.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)