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3 festivals in Ilocos Sur cancelled due to COVID-19

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ILOCOS SUR — Due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) concerns, the municipalities of Galimuyod and Salcedo, as well as Candon City, announced this week that the celebration of their respective festivals, which are simultaneously observed in March, are cancelled this year.

Galimuyod Mayor Jessie Balingsat said on February 17 (Monday) that he convened the Bignas Festival Executive Committee and after deliberation it was voted to cancel the celebration of the annual activity, which is supposed to run from March 9-11, 2020.

“We are saddened to announce this but the local government is only prioritizing the security and health of our people. However, we are hoping that once the threat of this scary disease has hopefully vanished, we will conduct our planned activities,” Balingsat added.

Salcedo Mayor Leopoldo Gironella Jr. also announced on February 18 (Tuesday) that Cacao Festival will not be celebrated this year.

“We are supposed to celebrate our town fiesta this March 19-21 but all of the barangay chairpersons and non-government organization heads have agreed to cancel it as part of our LGU’s precautionary measures against the threat of COVID-19 and we believe that prevention is always better in situations like this as advised by the Department of Health,” Gironella said.

On February 19 (Wednesday), Candon City Mayor Ericson Singson announced that for the first time, all of the major activities for the celebration of Tobacco Festival are cancelled.

However, Singson clarified that they will still conduct the concelebrated mass at San Juan de Parish Church and the wreath laying at the monument of Don Isabelo Abaya, Candon City’s local hero, on March 25 in observance of the cityhood’s anniversary.

“I hope that our people will understand the decision of our Fiesta Committee because this is everybody’s concern. We are hoping that we will be able to conduct all the cancelled activities on our city fiesta next year and we advise the public to be vigilant of the issues and concerns happening in the country. We will prepare a grandeur Tobacco Festival next year,” Singson said.

Balingsat, Gironella, and Singson said that such decision supports the advisory from Department of Health urging the public to avoid attending, participating in, and organizing events that draw a huge number of attendees likewise recommending the cancellation of such planned big events or mass gatherings to further minimize the risk of contracting COVID-19.

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