Countdown, sky spectacle kick off Bacolod’s Charter Day rites

CHAMPION Barangay Pahanocoy’s Okoy-Okoy Festival was declared the grand champion of the 1st Halandumon Festival Street and Arena Dance Competition held at the Bacolod City Government Center Football Field on June 16, 2019. They received a cash prize of P50,000. Halandumon is one of the sidelights of the 81st Charter Day celebration of Bacolod City. (PIO)

BACOLOD City – The “biggest and most extravagant” fireworks display in this city so far will greet the celebration of Bacolod’s 81st Charter Day on Tuesday, June 18, 2019, the first under Republic Act (RA) 11146 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in November 2018.

At the stroke of midnight, Mayor Evelio Leonardia will lead city officials in a countdown highlighted by a sky spectacle towards June 18, which has been declared by Malacañang as a special non-working holiday.

“This will be the most beautiful fireworks ever in the city. Bigger than the fireworks of MassKara and New Year. This is special, this the first time ever that we will celebrate the correct Charter Day after 80 years of celebrating the wrong date every Oct. 19,” Leonardia said.

The new law corrected RA 7724 that initially set Oct. 19 as the date for the celebration of the Bacolod City Charter Day.

It was found out later that the City’s Charter was actually signed by then President Manuel L. Quezon on June 18, 1938 and approved in effect Commonwealth Act 326 that created the City of Bacolod. October 19 was the inauguration of the first city officials, which was attended by Quezon in Bacolod.

As stated in RA 11146, the inauguration of the City of Bacolod shall still be commemorated every October 19, and the highlights of the MassKara Festival shall be held on the fourth Sunday of October.

“We will still have ceremonies on October 19,” Leonardia said.

Hours before the countdown, city officials will lead the inauguration of PHP37.2-million Bacolod City Esplanade located beside the Government Center, at 7 p.m.

The esplanade will serve as protection of the riverbanks from possible erosion and a good venue for recreation, social and fitness activities of Bacolod residents and tourists.

On Tuesday, the day’s events will start with the inauguration of the Simplicio Palanca Ferry Terminal at the Bredco port of the Reclamation Area at 9 a.m.

At 12:15 p.m., a thanksgiving mass will be held at the Sacred Heart Shrine. It will be followed by a grand parade at 1:30 p.m.

The Charter Day Program will be held at the Government Center Lobby starting at 6 p.m., with Senator Cynthia Villar as guest speaker.

At 9 p.m., the Charter Day celebration will be capped with the inauguration of the Halandumon Tower located beside the Public Plaza, at the corner of Gonzaga and Gatuslao Streets. (PNA)