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A Special Day for Cotabato

26 August 2011

Speech-Cotabato-DayRemarks of Sen. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.
Opening ceremonies Kalivungan Festival
Kidapawan City, Cotabato Province

Governor Mendoza, My colleagues and friends in Kidapawan city and the
Province of Cotabato:

When I received the invitation from Governor Mendoza to serve as guest of honor in the opening of this colorful Kalivungan Festival here in Kidipawan City, I said yes despite our very heavy schedule at the Senate at this time.

I told my staff that Cotabato and Kidapawan City were one of my most pleasant stops during the election campaign last year. I told them I will come here today, because I never want it said by my brothers and sisters here in Cotabato that I only appear before you whenever there is an election coming.

My visit today is both a way of thanking you for all your support and good wishes last year, and a way of paying homage to Cotabato’s great history and traditions, which incidentally includes the traditions of Ilocanos everywhere.

Cotabato province will mark its 97th founding anniversary on Thursday, September 1, next week. When that comes to pass, the people and the province of Cotabato will have nearly a century to look back on with pride and for inspiration.

But more than commemoration of the past, your anniversary should also be a time of consecretation and rededication to the cause of your provincial community – your values and aspirations. As your governor has wonderfully put it, your supreme goal today is “development for all, not just prosperity for a few.”

This is preeminently the time to face the future together – not to dwell on the glories of the past.

The Kalivungan festival is a wonderful way to mark this anniversary because it gathers under one umbrella so many community activities – sports, cultural events, exhibits, and of course, a little bit of feasting.

I understand that the name Kalivungan means “gathering”. This festival is a gathering of the many interests, passions, values and traditions that signify you as a community here in Mindanao and in our country.

It is commendable that this festival prominently features various sports competitions and events. Because sports is a great unifier for every community. And sports is above all the pastime of the young.

When Manny Pacquiao does his great feats in the boxing ring, we are united as one and made proud as a people.

When our dragon boat team won five gold medals and two silver medals in Tampa bay, Florida last week, they lifted the entire nation and turned everyone toward rejoicing.

It is unfortunate that our dragon paddlers -- composed of both men and women – did not get a single peso of assistance from the government, when they went to America to compete against the world’s best in dragon boating.

I assure you that this anomaly will not be left uncorrected by the Senate and Congress. This week, the Senate began its inquiry into this distressing situation. And soon decisions will be made.

Let me now conclude by saying how happy I am to have this opportunity to visit once again your great province and impressive capital.

I join you in marking your 97th year as a province. And I am delighted and privileged to open this Kalivungan festival in the company of your gracious governor – Governor Lala Talino-Mendoza.

Congratulations and may you have many, many more anniversaries and festivals.

Thank you all and good day. Mabuhay ang Lungsod ng Kidapawan at ang lalawigan ng Cotabato!