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Tuguegarao City’s Afi Festival 2017 officially opens

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TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- With the theme “Pagayaya anna Palupaggia” (Happiness and Prosperity), the 293rd Patronal Festival dubbed as “Afi Festival” of this city officially opened at City Hall on Friday morning, August 11.

The Holy Eucharist, presided by Rev. Father Dante Sabban, marked the start of the weeklong festivities in honor of Saint Hyacinth of Poland, the city’s patron saint. City Mayor Bienvenido “Ben-Ben” De Guzman, Vice-Mayor Danilo Baccay, and several City Councilors graced the event. This was also attended by officials and teachers from the Division of Tuguegarao.

In his homily, Father Sabban noted that there was indeed a reason to celebrate and be thankful to the Lord in the past year. He also recognized the rich history and culture of the city. He urged the people, especially the locals, to embrace the Ibanag language.

After the mass, the city government proceeded to the formal opening program of the festival. Cagayan Third District Board Members Rosauro Resuello, a former city councilor, and Rodrigo De Asis joined the city officials. Afterwards, Senator JV Ejercito, the city’s special guest, also arrived and was warmly received by the people in attendance who took selfies with the legislator.

In this program, Mayor De Guzman emphasized the importance of the trade fair in making the festival more meaningful. “The local government values the importance of each businessman in the economic growth of the city,” he said.

“Today, trade fair exhibits are another excellent example of the way we are working together to realize the potential of your sector,” he added.

The mayor also announced in his speech the dismissal of evidences filed against former Mayor Jefferson Soriano, his political ally. Soriano, himself, was in attendance for the event.

He also invited Tuguegaraoeños to watch all activities planned by the city, especially the Afi Festival dance later that day with 3,500 students performing.

Vice Mayor Baccay said the festival “aims to gather people together, foster oneness among people, and celebrate triumphs for the past year; and look forward for better years to come.”

Senator JV Ejercito expressed his gratitude to the people and shared proposed projects such as a plan for a railway system connecting the city to Manila. He also said city officials are welcome in San Juan, his hometown where he was once mayor, where they can adopt the city’s strategy that led to what he claimed an income growth of four percent.

Meanwhile, Department of Agriculture Region 2 Technical Director Orlando Jose Lorenzana who represented the agency’s Regional Director Narciso Edillo praised the city for its exemplary agricultural performance and production.

De Guzman, Ejercito, and Lorenzana then proceeded at the City Hall Grounds for the ribbon cutting to open the trade fair. It featured various products from business exhibitors in the city and in nearby localities such as food, ornamental plants, furniture, and more.

Another ribbon cutting was done inside the hall to open the visual arts exhibit featuring works from local artists. Northernforum.net

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