Int’l Folklore Festival in Koronadal draws 400 Filipino, foreign performers

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/06 August) — Around 400 foreign, national and local performers will take center stage in various cultural showcases next week in parts of Region 12 in line with the 10-day “Pyesta Kolon Datal: Koronadal International Folklore Festival.”

Koronadal City Mayor Peter Miguel said Thursday the participating performers are expected to arrive in the area within the next three days, in time for the grand opening of the festivities on Monday night.

He said a total of 196 international folklore dancers and music groups as well as 175 national and local performers have confirmed to join the festivity, which is slated until Aug. 18.

Among those that confirmed to take part in the festivity are contingents from Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Mexico, Sri Lanka and Japan.

The other participants are the ECD Dance Company of the Philippines, PNU (Philippine Normal University) Kislap Sining Dance Troupe, Philippine Barangay Folk Dance Troupe, University of the Philippines Filipiniana Dance Truope and Koronadal City’s Hinugyaw Cultural Dance Troupe.

A 25-person delegation from Sri Lanka was the first contingent to arrive in Koronadal City on Wednesday.

“We’re now all set and very excited with the festival. We worked hard to bring it here so we’re hoping for the best results,” the mayor said.

The event, which was organized by the city government in coordination with the Paris-based Council of International Organization of Folkloric Festival (CIOFF), is the first-ever international folkloric festivity that will be held in the county.

CIOFF is an official partner of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization or UNESCO and is accredited with its Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee.

The festivities will be held mainly in Koronadal City but performances will also be staged in other key areas of Region 12.

Demonstration performances and lectures will be held in this city, Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat and in the municipalities of Polomolok, Tampakan, Tantangan, Surallah, Lake Sebu and Norala in South Cotabato.

“I’m encouraging everyone to watch the shows and witness the showcases of authentic cultures from around the world,” Miguel said in a press conference.

The mayor said the scheduled performances and other related activities are all open to the public for free.

He said the festival’s opening at the South Cotabato Sports Complex in Koronadal City on Monday night will be followed by cultural shows in the succeeding days at the Rizal Park and at the South Cotabato Gymnasium and Cultural Center.

“Through this folklore festival, the participating countries will promote their dances, music, rituals, customs and arts,” Miguel added.

The mayor said the festivity will also center on the promotion of friendship and peace, with the convergence of various nationalities.

He made a bid to host the international folkloric festival when he attended the 44th CIOFF World Congress and General Assembly held in Bautzen, Germany.

Created in 1970, CIOFF has been spearheading efforts in “safeguarding, promotion and diffusion of traditional culture and folklore” in 110 countries.

The group promotes intangible heritage, through forms of expression such as dance, music, games, rituals, customs and other arts as well as support activities of its members and those of non-governmental organizations working in the areas of folklore and cultural heritage.

The Police Regional Office (PRO)-12 mea while said it has stepped up its security operations in connection with the 10-day festival.

Chief Supt. Lester Camba, Region 12 police director, said Thursday they sustained the region’s heightened alert status to ensure the peaceful and smooth conduct of the festivity.

He said they have set in place a region-wide security plan that focuses on intensified intelligence operations and strategic deployment of police personnel.

“Our operations will focus on the main areas of engagement or festival venues as well as the neighboring localities,” Camba said.

He said they have assigned police personnel to secure the delegations, especially those from other countries.

He said they have directed police personnel in the festival venues and other areas that will be visited by the performers to provide additional security.

“This is an international event so we have to maximize our security deployment and our presence in strategic areas,” he said.

The PRO-12 earlier committed to send around 400 police personnel to Koronadal City to help secure the festivities.

The augmentation personnel, who are set to arrive in the area in the next two days, will come from the Regional Public Safety Battalion, Regional Training School and the PRO-12 regional headquarters. (MindaNews)