Bukidnon eyes P10-M budget for 2014 centennial celebration

MALAYBALAY CITY(MindaNews/17 September) – The provincial government is eyeing to allocate P10 million for Bukidnon’s centennial celebration on September 1, 2014, Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. said.

Addressing the first organizational meeting of the Bukidnon Centennial Committee at the Pine Hills Hotel on Monday, Zubiri said the provincial government will also tap multinational companies operating in the province for sponsorship to help defray the expenses.

The proposed P10 million budget for next year’s Kaamulan Festival is about P2 million higher than the annual allocation, he said.

Zubiri vowed a grand centennial celebration for the people of Bukidnon, noting it will be “more than just a tourist attraction.”

President Benigno Aquino III will be invited as guest of honor, he said.

He told the committee meeting that in celebration of the province’s 100th foundation anniversary, the Kaamulan 2014 will be moved from mid February to March to August 1 to September 1.

He stressed that the celebration will not only be for the indigenous peoples who originally inhabited the province but also for the migrant residents.

Among the issues tackled include the preparation for awards and recognition of personalities who gave pride to the province in the last 100 years.

Committee member Ludivina Opeña, an 85-year old ethnographer and Bukidnon historian, also proposed the marking of three historical landmarks in the province, which Zubiri backed for endorsement by national authorities.

Zubiri created the committee through Executive Order No. 10 series of 2013 issued last September 2, allowing the participation of non-government and private organizations in the body.

He said there is also a need to rationalize the significance of Bukidnon’s historical links with its neighboring provinces.

Zubiri, who chairs the committee, said all the 20 towns and two cities of the province will be asked to join the centennial celebration. In previous years, up to eight towns and the two cities were alternately joining the festivities.

He told Malitbog Mayor Osmundo dela Rosa, the president of the Bukidnon chapter of the League of Mayors in the Philippines, that the budget allocated by the provincial government will be doubled from P150,000 to P300,000 to localities joining the centennial celebration.

The subsidy to the towns would reach about P6 million or 60 percent of the P10 million proposed centennial budget.

Zubiri said he will meet the mayors within the month to discuss the budget with them.

The governor appointed provincial administrator Alberto Lagamon as committee vice chair. Its members are Malaybalay bishop Jose A. Cabantan, retired judge Benjamin Estrada, Opeña, former provincial first ladies Amor Fortich and Linda Beltran, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples provincial officer Ma. Shirlene Sario, Tourism regional director Catalino Chan III, Mayor dela Rosa, and Central Mindanao University president Maria Luisa Soliven.

Zubiri tasked the committee, among others, “to undertake overall study, conceptualization, formulation, and implementation of programs and projects on the use of culture, arts, literature, and media as engine of history, economic endeavors and reinvigorating the spirit of national unity and sense of accomplishments in every Bukidnon in the context of the centennial celebration.”

He also created technical working groups to assist the event planner the province will hire to formulate the comprehensive plan for the celebration. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)