MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/20 January) – Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan have questioned some activities being lined up for this year’s Kaamulan as inappropriate to the annual celebration of Bukidnon’s indigenous cultures.
Vice Gov. Jose Maria R. Zubiri Jr. cited in particular the shoot fest named after Gov. Alex Calingasan, a shooting enthusiast, which was allotted P100,000.
He also questioned the “excessive budgets” for certain activities namely, P100,000 for the foundation day parade and program; P170,000 for physical improvements at the Capitol grounds; P100,000 for the fuel expenses of all committees; P50,000 for the Night of Bukidnon Artists; and P50,000 for the International Rugged Race.
Meanwhile, Malaybalay City councilor Roland Deticio, who sits in the SP as representative of the Provincial Councilors League, slammed the holding of the Laga Ta Bukidnon (Miss Bukidnon) beauty pageant as unnecessary.
Detecio said the event, one of the highlights of Kaamulan, is a form of exploitation against women.
He also questioned why the pageant director would receive P150,000 and the winning contestant only P25,000.
For his part, Zubiri asked if any of the candidates are Lumad (the generic term for the indigenous peoples of Mindanao).
He further suggested that the off-road challenge should no longer be held in Mangima, Manolo Fortich town, allegedly because only a few people can get to see it there. He proposed the holding of all activities in Malaybalay.
The vice governor clarified he would submit to the governor’s prerogative but added the questioned items will be referred to the committee on tourism and beautification.
Zubiri said he has told provincial tourism officer Laila Marte about this, although he promised that the SP will treat [the proposed budget] as an urgent matter.
Preparations are underway for the annual festival, scheduled from February 16 to March 10, even if the proposed budget of P6.08 million was still pending at the SP.
Of this amount, P1.08 million will be sourced from private donors and the rest from the provincial government’s coffers.
The biggest chunk of the budget, P1.94 million, goes to the street dance competition.
The Kaamulan Management Committee already met twice but the Provincial Tourism Office is yet to release the final schedule of activities.
The organizers proposed the theme “Mainstreaming of indigenous peoples’ customs towards ecological appreciation and sustainable development.”
Kaamulan 2012 ends on March 10, the foundation day of the province. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)