By Jennifer P. Rendon
The threat of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is not enough to stall the holding of the annual Pintados de Pasi Festival in Passi City, Iloilo.
In pushing through with the festivity, Mayor Stephen Palmares said he decided on it following consultation with their health officials and with the approval of the city council and Vice Mayor Jesry Palmares.
“We decided to push with our festivity because we see that it is not alarming in our area,” he said.
Palmares added, “Nagapadulong kita sa summer kag kun mainit ang COVID virus indi amo ka dan ang pag-progress na.”
Pintados de Pasi Festival is celebrated every 3rd week of March in Passi City, Iloilo.
It is regarded as a celebration of the rich history of the Visayas Region where tribespeople wore extensive and intricate tattoos all over their bodies which made the Spaniards call the Island “Las Islas de los Pintados (Island of the Painted People).
Palmares cited that Victorias City in Negros Occidental will also go on with their annual Kadalag-an Festival this month.
But in pushing through with the celebration, he said they need the cooperation of everybody.
Palmares said they would be putting up health stations in strategic areas around the city proper of Passi.
Hand sanitizers will be made available in every corner of the city proper available to avoid the viral disease, he added.
Palmares said he also tapped the Philippine Red Cross-Passi City chapter, iCare Passi City, and other health personnel.
Palmares said they expect around 100,000 visitors during the festival’s highlight on March 23.
The highlight will have eight groups that will compete in the Pintados tribe competition.
But with the threat of COVID-19, Palmares said he still hopes that said number of locals and visitors would still converge in the city.
“If the number would be surpassed, the better,” he said.
Usually, Palmares said they have visitors from the United States and other countries.
“Our health officers were told to adopt measures to check if the tourists have illnesses,” he said.
But Palmares said airport measures appear to be enough in determining if there’s a need to quarantine a visitor.
Infrared thermometers will also be used to check the temperature of those who will attend.
While wearing of masks is fine, Palmares said he would not really impose on it.
The city has invited several national officials to attend.
These include Senators Manny Pacquiao and Richard Gordon, Rep. Enrico Pineda and Rep. Michael Odylon Romero of 1-PACMAN Partylist, and Mayor Chavit Singson of Narvacan, Ilocos Sur.