THE City Government of Cagayan de Oro and the Misamis Oriental Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (MOFCCCII) began their week-long celebration of the Chinese New Year with an opening program held at the Gaston Park last Monday, January 20.
The activity started with a dragon and lion dances and performances by Kong Hua School and Oro Christian Grace School, wherein the audience got a glimpse of some of the Chinese culture and tradition.
"This is the fifth year that Cagayan de Oro City celebrates Chinese New Year with festivity. Chinese New Year for the Filipino-Chinese is typically a day meant for reunion and celebration with family and friends. The Filipino and Chinese communities have been living together for the past many generations," said Simon Ching, president of MOFCCCII, in expressing gratitude to the City Government.
"Despite the cultural differences, we have practiced and we are of one body and mind in the betterment of our communities as we strive towards the prosperity of our country, the Philippines," he added.
Ching added that the Cagayan de Oro City celebrating the Chinese New Year shows that the local government treasures its relationships with the Filipino-Chinese community and that "the friendship between the Filipino and Chinese is paramount to the success to the city as a whole."
"I would like to take this time to thank the City Government for its continuing efforts to foster this friendship and that we can continue to grow it together," Ching said.
Mayor Oscar Moreno, for his part, said he was pleased to see that the Filipino and Chinese communities are gathered as one to witness the beginning of the Chinese New Year celebration.
He also thanked the Chinese community in Northern Mindanao for continuing to stay in the region despite the conflict that occurred in Mindanao for the past years.
"Mindanao has had a period of brutal and cruel conflict and I'm sure in the past, your forefathers could have thought seriously of moving elsewhere, relocating elsewhere to find a more peaceful place but they decided to stay on," Moreno said.
"They decided to remain permanently here in Cagayan de Oro and Northern Mindanao and that to me is a very, very heartwarming vote of confidence for the people of Mindanao," he added.
He also encouraged the Filipino-Chinese community to join in the government's efforts to stop the local communist armed conflict in the country.
Apart from the performances during opening program, the City Government also lit up the Gaston Park with the Chinese-inspired Symphony of Lights.