Kali-Kalihan fest kicks off; tribute to ‘heroes’ slated

Don Salvador Benedicto Mayor Marxlen dela Cruz and Vice Mayor Nehemiah del Cruz (3rd and fourth from the right respectively) lead the unveiling of the town’s logo marking its 40th-year founding anniversary.

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Mayor Marxlen dela Cruz of Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental said on Wednesday that the local government is set to render tribute to military and government officials who contributed to the attainment of peace and development of the town as a highlight of its 40th founding anniversary and 30th Kali-kalihan Harvest Festival which kicked off Feb 1, 2023 and will run until Feb 9.

Dela Cruz opened the celebration Wednesday which started with a Fun Run and was followed by a thanksgiving mass and an opening program where the 17 candidates vying for the title of Diwata sang Kali were presented and the public was given a sneak peek of the activities lined up for the 9-day festivity.

Dela Cruz said the celebration this year is doubly meaningful because this is the first time that the festivities are being held after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It also marks the fourth decade the town was founded by his late father Nehemias dela Cruz who nurtured the town from being a rebel-infested locality to a top tourist destination in Negros Occidental during his term as chief executive.

“From being a haven of the insurgents to being a top tourist drawer this town has gone through a lot like my parents did,” the mayor told reporters here.

That is why the mayor said one of the highlights of this year’s celebration is to give a tribute to military and police officers who fought to attain peace and paved the way for development in the town.

While he was so young then, the mayor recalled how the town was the center of insurgency in the province adding that it is where soldiers shed their blood for peace.

Expected to attend the tribute are retired and active military and police officials assigned in the town during the insurgency period.

He said one of those who will also be given tribute also is former Negros First Engineering District head, Engr. Rogelio Tongson, who spearheaded the construction of the economic tourism highway in the area that traverses from Bacolod City to Murcia town to San Carlos City.

Lined up with pine trees, the highway has also attracted local tourists.

“We owe what the town is today to these people, we have to give them due recognition,” dela Cruz said.

He added, “we would like to look back to our past and remember how our town was and give recognition to these people for their contribution to our town, we cannot move on and success won’t be there if we cannot give thanks to the very important people who played an important role to what DSB is now.”

With dela Cruz in the opening ceremony was Vice Mayor Nehemiah de la Cruz Jr., his younger brother, his mother, Cynthia dela Cruz who also served as DSB Mayor, and local officials.