CATBALOGAN CITY -- Residents of Eastern Visayas do not have to go far to join the celebration of the country’s hosting of the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) this week.
Myles Joseph Colasito, information officer of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)-Eastern Visayas, said three cities and two towns in the region will be part of the nationwide landmark lighting ceremonies on the Asean anniversary at 7 p.m. of August 8.
Colasito confirmed Monday, August 7, the participation of Balangiga town in Eastern Samar, Palo in Leyte, and the cities of Tacloban, Ormoc and Maasin, having significant history to share.
He said the towns of Balangiga and Palo are "renowned historically, being the site of an uprising in the Filipino-American War, and the place where the main Allied forces landed to retake the Philippines in World War 2, respectively."
The three equally historical and strategic cities of Tacloban, Ormoc and Maasin City have prepared to make the Philippines' hosting of the semi-annual meet more significant among its population.
The City Government of Tacloban is holding a poster and slogan-making contest, quiz bee, and street parade to be capped by a fireworks display after the landmark lighting event at the City Hall in Kanhuraw Hill, Tacloban.
In anticipation of the mass of people who will participate in the series of events, the City Government suspended classes Tuesday, August 8.
The municipality of Palo, which celebrated its fiesta last August 6, is also holding a walk for peace from the town center to the MacArthur Memorial Park, aside from showcasing a line-up of fireworks display, fire dances, concert and performances from three renowned festivals in Leyte.
In Balangiga, Eastern Samar, the program will revolve around the municipal plaza and church where townspeople in 1901 took up arms and annihilated the American soldiers stationed in the area.
DILG Officer-in-Charge Regional Director Marivel Sacendoncillo expressed elation over the active involvement of local government units in Eastern Visayas to welcome the country's hosting of the Asean summit.
"This will help promote unity and appreciation among our people of the culture of fellow Asean countries," she said.
Five countries, including the Philippines, established the Asean in 1967 to promote political, economic socio-cultural and security cooperation to ensure peace, stability and shared prosperity in the region. The group has grown to 10-member nations that include the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. (SunStar Philippines)