Koronadal celebrates 70th anniversary

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/7 Jan) – The city government here opened Thursday a four-day grand celebration as homage to the city’s founding 70 years ago and its continuing development as one of the fast-growing economic and cultural hub in the country’s southern corridor.

Koronadal City Mayor Fernando Miguel said this year’s celebration mainly focuses on the gains made as well as the challenges faced by the city from its establishment as a settlement area and a municipality several decades ago. “This is mainly a tribute to our people, especially the diverse mix of cultures, who helped shape up our city into what it is now today,” he said.

The mayor said the city’s 70th foundation anniversary celebration, which carries the theme: “Culture Shapes Our Future,” will be highlighted by the 10th Hinugyaw Festival slated January 7 to 10.

Among the festivities’ main attractions are the Korona Parada (crown parade), drumline competition, Hinugyaw dance showdown, farmers’ festival parade, products exposition and trade fair, street dancing competition and balikbayan and pioneer settlers’ night and fellowship.

The celebrations will be spiced up by the nightly entertainments and shows featuring various celebrities as well as the popular Marbeleño mardi gras, street party and grand fireworks display during the anniversary day on January 10.

City Councilor Ellen Grace Albios, who was designated as festival director, said the city government allocated some P6.2 million for this year’s celebrations or almost double last year’s budget of P3.5 million.

She said they increased the funding to enhance the concept of the competitions and their corresponding prices that ranges from P50,000 to P150,000.

“We opened the competitions to contingents coming from other areas and regions unlike the previous years when the participants were mostly locals,” Albios said.

Meantime, City Administrator Marcelita Lucido said they requested Malacañang to declare January 11 as special non-working holiday in the entire city.

She said they decided to move the proposed holiday to January 11 instead of the January 10 official anniversary day as the latter falls on a Sunday.

Koronadal, which became a component city of South Cotabato province in 2000, is the regional center of Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao and is considered one of the region’s emerging centers for finance, business, education and services.

In 2003, the city was adjudged as the country’s most competitive small-sized city based on a survey conducted by the Asian Institute of Management’s Policy Center and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Two years later, the city landed among the top 10 most competitive cities in the country based on the same survey.

It was also adjudged in 2005 and 2006 as one of the most business-friendly cities in Mindanao. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)