MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/01 April) — The decision to move the Kaamulan street dancing competition to an earlier date was meant to accommodate Davao City Mayor and presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte, Bukidnon Gov. Jose Maria R. Zubiri Jr.
Duterte was scheduled to speak before the announcement of winners of the competition.
The street dancing contest, the climax of the month-long Kaamulan, was scheduled on April 2 but was reset to April 1 to suit Duterte’s itinerary. Reports said the mayor was set to visit Cagayan de Oro City on April 2.
Zubiri said that in a survey among elected officials of Bukidnon, Duterte emerged as the top preference for the presidency.
He added Camarines Sur Rep. Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo, the administration’s vice presidential bet, was their choice for vice president.
The governor endorsed both Duterte and Robredo during the Provincial Women’s Summit on March 29.
Kaamulan is Bukidnon’s annual ethnic festival, which the provincial government has promoted as the gathering of the province’s seven tribes.
Earlier this week, Zubiri said the Office of the President was yet to respond to his request to declare April 1 as a non-working holiday in the province.
He blamed politics as behind the reason why the request was not approved.
In at least two recorded announcements, Zubiri explained that the Office of the President endorsed their request to the National Historical Commission, which forwarded it to a legal team.
On Tuesday, Zubiri told reporters there was no indication it would be approved.
But he still told mayors and barangay officials to allow personnel to witness the festivity despite the absence of a holiday declaration.
In a memo posted on the Facebook account of the Provincial Public Affairs Information and Assistance office, Zubiri asked the mayors to allow employees to attend “on official time” maintain a skeletal force “so as not to hamper office operation”.
This is the first time in Kaamulan’s 39-year history that the street dancing contest would not held on a non-working day, Zubiri said. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)