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TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The local government decided to cancel the numerous activities that had been earlier lined up by organizers for the celebration of the city’s 13th founding anniversary and the 19th Mataguan Festival, the major crowd drawing event that annually draws the influx of thousands of visitors from the different parts of the country.
Mayor Darwin C. Estrañero said that organizers of the city’s twin events also agreed to realign some P3.5 million from the P6 million budget previously earmarked by the local government for such activities for the city’s anti-COVID programs, projects and activities while some of the funds were used for the city’s early preparations versus the deadly virus.
“We deemed it proper to forego the grand celebration of the city’s twin events because our people are still suffering from the heavy impact of the Luzonwide lockdown. We were all in agreement that we have to sustain providing the needed funds for our ongoing relief and anti-COVID operations that is why we decided to realign the funds that were allotted for our major city events,” Mayor Estrañero stressed.
The local chief executive pointed out that one of the prohibited activities during the prevalence of the general community quarantine (GCQ) or even during the modified GCQ will be the conduct of mass gatherings where the city’s twin celebrations tend to qualify, thus, the decision to forego the same this year to allow the local government to focus on the ongoing implementation of recovery and resiliency programs.
City Administrator Noly Tenedero revealed that a simple celebration of the city’s twin events was proposed during the recent executive committee where the same will push through depending on the prevailing situation of the COVID aside from the fact that the budget for the festivities was already realigned for the city’s anti-COVID operations.
The city administrator added that P3 million out of the P10 million previously earmarked by the local government for the cancelled Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association (CARAA) regional sports competition in Baguio city was also realigned for the city’s anti-COVID operations.
He claimed that the local government remains steadfast in the continuous provision of the needed assistance to the heavily impacted sectors of the city to allow them to cope with the effects of the global pandemic to the local economy and sources of livelihood of the people.
Mayor Estrañero expressed his gratitude to the people and officialdom of the local government for their unrelenting and uncompromising support that they displayed to the implementation of the strict guidelines governing the ECQ and the GCQ because the status of the city as COVID-free could not have been achieved if the residents were not vigilant on the entry of individuals in the city during the lockdown.
He urged the residents in the city’s 42 barangays to continue complying with the partially relaxed regulations because the opening up of the city will be done in a gradual manner to ensure that there will be no infected individual that will be able to sneak into the city and possibly spread the virus.
Kalinga, including Tabuk City, is one of the three provinces in the Cordillera that remain to be COVID-free since the start of the ECQ and the downgrading of its status to GCQ. The other COVID-free provinces include Apayao and Mountain Province while Baguio City, Benguet, Abra and Ifugao account for the region’s 46 confirmed COVID cases.