“ALL ROADS LEAD TO PANAAD” seems to be a cliché in this year’s celebration. Sizing up the guests last Saturday was not plentiful as in the past festivals. Yes, the stadium was filled up. It was filled by the guests from other municipalities and component cities.
“Panaad” is the Hiligaynon word for “vow” or “promise.”
As used in “Panaad sa Negros” it is a promise of every Negrense to protect and to preserve Negros. Likewise, the festival is a form of thanksgiving to God and commemoration of a vow in exchange for a good life.
The festival started in 1993, when the province got a very bad image as a poverty-stricken, insurgency infested and unproductive province in the Visayas. Negros was depicted by “Batang Negros.” It was depicted as a battle area of communist rebels. It was also pictured as a place of drought and calamities.
The governor in his opening message during the opening rites of the 25th Panaad sa Negros Festival said the province’s progress is beyond expectation.
He is seeing that in the next 25 years, Negros will progress more and will help in solving the country’s number one problem – poverty.
Starting this year, the governor said Panaad will become a venue for a year-round activity and attraction. This is good as the venue becomes a ghost town after the festival.
Panaad should live what it should be. It is our opportunity to thank God and to make a vow to protect and preserve our beloved Negros.
Panaad should not be an avenue to exploit our young women or an opportunity for unscrupulous businessmen and investors.
Worst, we need to protect our lands from investors who make money at the expense of the future generations.
So, as we celebrate Panaad with the thought of a promise that has been fulfilled, let us bear in mind that there will always be the majority that could not enjoy with us. We need to protect our promise land.