by Roshel Thane Clarys A. Flores, Mark Lloyd I. Cañete, Christian Roy C. Cuadernal
Joined by municipal mayors of the 17 municipalities of Capiz, government officials and employees, the flag raising ceremony simultaneously celebrated in front of the Capiz Provincial Capitol and Roxas City Hall signaled the official opening of the Capiznon fiesta this April 10.
After paying reverence to the National Flag, Gov. Victor Tanco, together with Vice Gov. Esteban Contreras II raised the flag of the province together with the mayors who took over the raising of their respective municipal flags.
Gov. Tanco graced the event with his speech that focused on the resiliency of the Capizeños, his gratefulness to those who aided Capiz in the aftermath of Yolanda and the core of the Capiztahan celebration saying “Capiztahan is the opportune time for us to showcase our rich culture and tradition which shaped our distinct identities as Capizeños.” He also emphasized that the festivity is not only to showcase heritage but also optimism, hard work, and determination leading to self-empowerment and social advancement.
He complimented Dinky Soliman, National Government offices, agencies and people who came to aid Capiz. “Words cannot describe the venom of agony that flowed through the veins of our memories caused by typhoon Yolanda, yet we stand together committed to rise again and move on.”
He also noted that the festivity also takes part in celebrating the 67th Death Anniversary of first President of the Philippine Republic, Manuel Acuña-Roxas, who bequeathed the legacy that every Capizeño is a key player in the province to social change.
Following that, testimonies from Emergency Shelter Assistance were heard. Nanay Iging, a candle vendor from Rizal St., Roxas City, held with high regard the office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, “Ako nagapasalamat sa aton Secretary Dinky Soliman sang DSWD, kay ako nakabaton sang calamity [fund] nga trenta mil kay akon nga balay naguba sang bagyo Yolanda,” she said. As a result of the assistance given to them, she added, “Kay akon balay guin-paubra ko na. Indi na ako maulanan, indi naman ako mainitan, kag maayo na ang amon pagtulog. “
Another testimony came from Hardelyn Bulaclac of Panay, Capiz. “Daw pila guid ka semana nga indi kami matulugan sa pagpanumdom kung paano kami makabangon sa amon pagpangabuhi.” She justified the amount of 30 thousand pesos she received to have given her and her family hope. “Indi lang balay ang napatindog, kundi amo man ang paglaom kag pagsalig sa gobyerno,” she added.
Afterward, DSWD Secretary Corazon Dinky Soliman, the guest speaker gave praises to Capiz for its resiliency, “Parang walang dumaang Yolanda ‘pag tiningnan mo po ang ating probinsya. ‘Yan po ay dahil sa katatagan, sa determinasyon, at pakikiisa ng mamayanan.” Although Soliman was grateful for Nanay Iging and Mrs. Bulaclac’s statement along with the warm welcome of the Capizeño government, she also addressed the commotion that occurred amidst the ceremony from concerned citizens who weren’t able to receive calamity funds.
“Gusto niyo pong idagdag ang hindi nailista noong una…Pinasabi kop o sa inyong miyembro na magbibigay ng panibagong listahan, March 31 ang usapan. In-extend pa sa April 20, para lang po ma-accommodate, matingnan kung totoong hindi natingnan,” she said. However, she continued to acknowledge the government agencies and the Aquino administration, “Lahat ho walang iniiwanan, kami po ay maglilingkod kahit sa matinding batikos na natatanggap namin mula sa mga grupong ‘yan [protesters], dahil mamamayan din kayo na aking paglilingkuran.”
In the end, Soliman expressed her joy of having been able to make it to Capiz after the numerous invitations she failed to attend due to her constricted schedule.
The Governor of the Second District of Capiz, Gov. Fredinel Castro gave the final words. His speech focused on the homily of Father Ariel Barrios,“Ang probinsiya sang Capiz amo ang nangin sentro sang pagtuluohan or pagpati sa Mahal nga Diyos kag sentro sang liderato pulitikal sang pungsod Pilipinas,” which he refrained, “Natungod sa sina nga panaysayon nagapati ako nga iya guin-paabot sa aton tanan kag amo ini aton rason…nga ang probinsiya sang Capiz amo lamang ang puluy-an nga guin-hatag sa aton sang Mahal nga Diyos, gani obligasyon sa aton kaugalingon, obligasyon naton sa aton probinsiya kag obligasyon naton sa aton igsa ka-pareho nga Capizeño.”
To cap off the event, the Third Infantry Division of the Philippine National Army showcased a drum and lyre exhibition.*