DINAGYANG festival will stay for centuries, stressed Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. in his speech during the opening program of the 50th anniversary of Dinagyang festival in Iloil City on January 28.
“Our Dinagyang is already 50 years but many more years will add; it will stay for centuries in the city and province of Iloilo because Dinagyang is the center of attraction that makes people appreciate the progress of the city and province of Iloilo,” he said.
Defensor also assured that the Provincial Government will continue to “support and assist the city of Iloilo in the promotion, development, and success of Dinagyang” in the incoming years.
The Provincial Government is a co-sponsor of the Dinagyang Festival. This year, it contributed P400,000 financial assistance to the Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation Inc. (IDFI) for the festival through the City Government.
Aside from the financial assistance, the Provincial Government is also preparing the Iloilo Capitol stage every year, which serves as one of the judging areas during festival competitions.
The Ati-tribe competition highlighted the festival on January 28.
President Rodrigo Duterte was supposed to grace the festival but due to a conflict in his schedule, he was not able to attend the event.
Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque expressed his apologies, saying Duterte just came back from a trip in New Delhi, India.
“Napaka-tight po ng schedule and I can confirm that Dinagyang was on his schedule, all of it to be confirmed,” he said.
Some of the officials who attended the festival include Senator Cynthia Villar, Davao City’s (1st District) Representative Karlo Nograles, and Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos.
Former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. also came to witness the festival.
In a media interview, Nograles expressed enjoyment for his first experience of Dinagyang festival.
“Very enjoyable. Itong ginagawa ninyong devotion kay Sto. Niño, nakakahanga, nakakabilib talaga. Alam ko meron tayo sa Cebu may Sinulog, sa Kalibo may Ati-atihan, pero ibang-iba talaga dito sa Dinagyang, very festive,” he said.
Meanwhile, Marcos said the festival had improved over the years. He recalled witnessing the festival way back in 2010.
“Bawat balik namin dito paganda ng paganda ang festival,” he said.
He said he was even surprised that delegates from New Zealand and South Korea participated in the festival.
He was referring to the delegates of Ruapotaka Marae from Auckland, New Zealand, and Anseong Namsadang Baudeogi Pungmul Troupe from South Korea who shared their talents through a cultural presentation in between the Ati-tribe competition. (PNA)