Bukidnon focuses on ‘Unity, nature, culture’ to celebrate 100 years

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 24 May) – The celebration of the Bukidnon Centennial on September 1, 2014 will focus on unity, nature, and culture with a month-long run-up starting August 1, the grand opening day.

Joe-An P. Bayona, provincial tourism officer, said as of this month the theme of the celebration was finalized as “Preservation of nature and culture with Christians, Indigenous Peoples, and Muslims as one for peace and sustainable development.”

As of the April 2014 meeting of the centennial committee presided by Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr., the provincial government will allot a P10-million budget for the celebration. About P5 million, or half of the budget, will go to the Kaamulan month in August.

Few changes

The highlight of the Kaamulan month is the two-day street dancing competition on Aug. 30 to 31 in Malaybalay City, one of the few notable changes from previous celebrations when the street dancing competition was scheduled only for a day.

Hansel Echavez, chief of the Public Affairs Information and Assistance Office, noted that instead of just 10 towns and one city joining the competition, all 20 towns and two cities will be included.

“So it was decided to divide performances in two days,” he said. The street performances feature dances, costumes, and storylines based on Bukidnon indigenous peoples’ history and folklore.

Echavez admitted that they did not notice any new entry in the lineup of activities for the centennial celebration compared to previous Kaamulans.

But there will be no more exclusive contracts with major sponsors, Bayona said in an earlier interview. The old practice, she said, was criticized by many. She said the governor wanted “free enterprise” to ensure livelier and more enjoyable festivities.

In 2013, Datu Magdaleno “Mayda” Pandian, indigenous peoples’ mandatory representative to the provincial board, said the practice of allowing major sponsors to operate exclusively in the Kaamulan sacred grounds has to stop.

He said the practice contradicted the openness espoused by the indigenous peoples in the annual festival dedicated to the province’s seven tribes.

P3 million for celebrities, P100T for cultural-arts exhibits

A big chunk of the budget, or P3 million, will go Manila artists, according to the “Proposed budget per committee for Centennial Celebration 2014” obtained from the minutes of the latest meeting of the centennial committee.

Echavez and Bayona confirmed in separate interviews that it will be used to hire the services of ABS-CBN Showtime’s Vice Ganda and popular teen love team Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla for the live performance on the evening of September 1, when fireworks display is also scheduled at the Capitol Grounds. The budget for the fireworks display was listed at P500,000.

A source said the choice of artists was based on survey via radio calls and messages.

The provincial government has allotted only P100,000 for “culture and arts exhibits.”

It is likewise spending P100,000 for awards and recognition to notable personalities who contributed to Bukidnon’s history, governance, and other affairs.

The rodeo show and motocross competition will have P200,000 each.

The provincial government is allotting P300,000 for the “Laga ta Bukidnon” or the Search for Miss Bukidnon 2014, just as much as it plans to spend for the security of the celebration.

The budget for the centennial parade and centennial run, were listed as P71,000 and P30,000, respectively. The budget for information, media promotion, and documentation is only P50,000.

The provincial government is yet to release an official and final schedule of the Centennial Celebration, including the month-long run-up of activities.

Change of date

All these years until last year, the province of Bukidnon celebrated its foundation anniversary on March 17.

As it turned out, Bukidnon’s founding as a province occurred on Sept. 1, 1914, when the Philippine Commission Act No. 2408, which was passed on July 23 of the same year, took effect. The provincial government, on the other hand, believed that that Bukidnon became a province on March 10, 1917.

This was clarified by Dr. Maria Serena Diokno, chair of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), in a letter to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in June 2012. The latter requested the NHCP in 2010 to clarify the province’s founding date as it started to plan for its centennial celebration.

“Considering that Act No. 2408 took effect on 1 September 1914, this date should be considered the basis of creation of Bukidnon province,” Diokno added then.

Act. No. 2408 – titled “An Act Providing a Temporary Form of Government for the Territory Known as the Department of Mindanao and Sulu, Making Applicable Thereto, with Certain Exceptions, the Provisions of General Laws Now in Force in the Philippine Islands, and for Other Purposes” – integrated the then newly created province into the Department of Mindanao and Sulu, along with the provinces of Agusan, Cotabato, Davao, Lanao, Sulu, and Zamboanga.

Diokno clarified that March 10, 1917 was the date when the Revised Administrative Code of 1917 was passed. The said Code reaffirmed Act No. 2408.

The provincial board, on motion of board member Nemesio Beltran Jr., passed an ordinance last week affirming and adopting the NHCP’s findings.

This moves the year of the province’s celebration of its centennial three years ahead, from 2017 to 2014. The ordinance likewise corrected the founding date to Sept. 1.

From 1860, Bukidnon was just a part of the province of Misamis until it became a sub-province of Agusan in 1907, according to these accounts.