The decision of the provincial government to cancel this year’s Baragatan Festival has triggered a barrage of negative reactions from Palawan netizens.
An earlier story on the event’s cancellation ran by Palawan News has so far earned 489 comments and 910 shares on its Facebook page since it was posted Tuesday morning.
Traditionally held in June to commemorate the founding of the Palawan civil government, Baragatan features a month-long series of events participated by municipalities.
Most comments were directed at Governor Jose Alvarez who announced the Baragatan cancellation Saturday.
“Ito lang ‘yong chance ng mga maliliit na negosyante na kumita at ito ay pinaghandaan na nila tapos biglang walang Baragatan. Malaking tulong ito sa mga taga-Palawan sa maliliit na negosyante at sa turismo,” Facebook user Tess Oclarino Antonio said.
Tricia Mae Murcia Saturnino asked: “Naubos ang pera? Kaya ‘yong nakasanayang Baragatan every year ng mga Palaweño di niyo ipagkakaloob… di dapat mangyari na walang Baragatan kasama na ‘yon sa culture natin..abay iba ‘to!”
Val Fernandez Lacayanga Jr. said also that Palawan will not be the same this year without the Baragatan.
“Palawan would not be the same pag walang Baragatan, pero Palawan is still Palawan kahit wala na si JCA [sic],” Lacayanga said.
Netizen Jhing Aya Awad accused the provincial government of depleting the funds for Baragatan.
“Sana matauhan na mga bumoto sa kanya (Governor Alvarez) at mga botante paano kasi baka ubos na daw budget na sana para sa Baragatan?” she said.
Ahlmurajee Alleph, another netizen, stressed the value of culture and tradition.
“If you are not a native born of one community, then you do not care about culture, tradition and even people on their way of life,” Alleph said.
In canceling the festival which would have marked the 117th Founding Anniversary of Palawan, Alvarez on Saturday cited the lack of time for planning the Capitol-organized month-long event.
Alvarez said everybody was focused on the campaign and the elections this year.
“Wala muna tayong Baragatan kasi medyo hang-over pa ang mga tao sa eleksyon, next year na lang,” he said.
Capitol defends cancellation
Caesar Sammy Magbanua, provincial information officer of the Palawan government, defended the decision of Alvarez to set aside the holding of the annual convergence festival.
Magbanua explained there were many factors before they came up with the decision to forgo Baragatan and one was the majority of municipal officials has no budget.
He said they will commemorate the 117th Founding Anniversary of the province’s Civil Government on June 23 with simple activities.
“Noong mag-survey kami sa mga LGUs (local government units) ay marami rin ang nag-backout kasi karamihan ay walang inilaan na budget. Kaya ‘yan din ang naging desisyon natin na wala muna. Actually mayroon tayong mga activities sa mismong araw pero hindi katulad dati. Sana irespeto na lang rin nila,” Magbanua said in a phone interview Wednesday.
He also said they already expected the negative comments and disappointments.
Magbanua also denied accusations that the Baragatan budget was used in the political campaigns.
“Expected na rin naman natin ‘yan na may mga comments but we respect naman lahat ‘yan kasi lahat naman tayo may kanya-kanyang opinyon. Kaya lang ang iba kasi may mga sinasabi na kesyo ginamit ang pera para sa election, wala naman pong katotohanan ‘yan. Maraming dahilan na dapat natin i-consider, sana irespeto lang rin,” Magbanua added.