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Aggao 2018 to focus on ‘Cagayan looking northward’

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- “Cagayan Looking Northward” will be the theme of the 435th Aggao nac Cagayan celebration this June as Governor Manuel Mamba infuses his administration “development vision” for the province to the annual event.

In a press conference at the capitol on Monday, June 11, Mamba said this year’s theme represents the kind of direction of the province under his watch.

Mamba said this concept aims to reconnect Cagayan with other developed Asian nations up north, namely Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan. He called this countries as the “real developed” nations of Asia.

Mamba focused heavily on his northward outlook for Cagayan in connection with the annual festivities of Aggao.

“We feel that it is time to rekindle our connection with our neighbor [nations] in the north because ang tingin ko ang destiny ng Cagayan is really the north. We now try to integrate ourselves with ASEAN pero ang tingin ko ang ASEAN is not really for us because when we talk of ASEAN, we talk of Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Thailand, Vietnam- and we are so far from them,” Mamba said.

“Kung meron mang close sa kanila, it’s Mindanao, maybe Visayas, and Metro Manila but Cagayan and the Northern Luzon is much nearer to the four developed countries of Asia,” he added.

He speficicaly mentioned China as an example of being a developed parter which he claimed has the second largest economy in the world, the top exporter in the world, and the highest market for tourism in the world.

Mamba said his administration is trying to put this “paradigm shift” into limelight, hoping that other provinces in the region and especially national government would also adopt the said direction.

Although he admitted that he feels the national government “does not trust” his idea, Mamba said there are “signs” the Duterte administration is “really serious about looking northward” as well.

The governor said examples of these signs are the deployment of Philippine Marines in the northeastern coastal towns of Cagayan and President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit in Port Irene, Santa Ana last April to publicly destroy around 20 “contraband” vehicles.

“Our province was really the premier province. In fact, it’s the oldest province in the north. We are more than 400 years old as a province…All of these things happened because we were in connection with our neighbors not only dito sa Cagayan but more so sa neighbors natin even outside Cagayan,” Mamba said.

Mamba said the northward outlook of Cagayan was forgotten when previous leaders and locals adopted the Manila or southward outlook such as ASEAN.

“Pero nung tumingin tayo sa Manila pati produkto natin, pati edukasyon natin, lahat-lahat na, nawala yung koneksyon natin sa north and in the process in the last 50 years naging developed countries sila,” Mamba said.

With the efforts to reopen Aparri and Claveria ports, Mamba expects that neighboring developed countries will pour in investors – a sign, he said, that proves that the “northward” view could work.

Further, Mamba said Cagayan’s location as a northern province with less Islam presence unlike Mindanao makes Cagayan suited for business investors who fear radical Muslim terrorists.

“The most peaceful part of our country is in the north, those farthest from our Muslim brothers and sisters…I see it as an opportunity [but] the opportunity is not to wide. Hindi lang natin alam kung gaano tatagal ang Islamophobia na ito. Dinedevelop din nila ang Mindanao, we do not know if that will work or not but what works now is that investors want to come in to our place,” he said.

In a press release, the governor said this concept will “open opportunities for Cagayan not only for economic purposes but also for tourism and agriculture development.”

Further, Aggao 2018 will highlight Cagayan’s rich culture, heritage, tradition, and tourism and agricultural investment offerings.

Meanwhile, Mamba noted that festivities for Aggao will not be centered at the capital city of Tuguegarao. Events will be held as far as Sanchez Mira, Santa Ana, Aparri, and Bangag, Lal-lo, consistent with the theme of looking northward, Mamba said.

Mamba then appealed to the public to entertain and support his vision for a “prosperous” Cagayan that is “not only open to Manila but most especially to the entire world.”

“Kung minsan takot tayo sa bago but if we don’t innovate, if we don’t have new concepts, if we don’t try new ones, it will never change the status quo,” Mamba said.

“Our connection to the entire world is not through Metro Manila but it through our northern boundaries, coastal towns, sea ports, airports, and our northern people,” he added. Northernforum.net

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