DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Despite the recent security threats in several areas in Mindanao, thousands joined the celebration of Kadayawan Festival in Davao City this weekend.
Residents and tourists enjoyed the different activities most especially the Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan street-dancing competition and the Pamulak sa Kadayawan floral float parade.
The Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan aims to present the history, tradition, practices, struggles and celebrations of the various Moro and Lumad tribes in Mindanao through music, dancing and singing. Representatives from various schools, cities and municipalities have been participating in the event for years.
Davao is also known for its rich floral and agricultural production and the Pamulak sa Kadayawan whishes to give tribute to the abundance given by nature in the region.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte explained that the festival is a tribute for the indigenous people and Moro people living who are the original inhabitants of Mindanao.
He also took the opportunity to remind the people about discriminatory behavior towards Lumads and Moros.
He shared that years ago, a newly retired Moro lawyer and government employee was refused by a subdivision from buying a lot.
There were also Moro parents who wanted to buy condo units for their children who are studying in the city who were also declined just because they were Muslims.
“If we perpetrate this behavior on a long term it will destroy our city and Mindanao,” Duterte said.
Discrimination and bigotry will cause hatred and the people will be sucked by violence and will definitely destroy Mindanao, added Duterte.
He said many of the present-day inhabitants of Davao are non-Muslims, including his grandparents who went to Mindanao following the “clarion call” of the Americans that the island is a land of promise.
With the present make-up of the city, Duterte said communcation is very important to ensure lasting peace and development.
“We are all living in the same world. Let us respect each others race, culture, religion and dignity,” Duterte said.
This respect, Duterte said, includes protecting the resources in the region by ensuring that the inhabitants will be able to utilize and enjoy its richness.
“I am against mining because I feel that it only favors a few and to think what God gave us belongs to the Filipinos,” Duterte said.
He commented that there are resources that are distributed in a way that benefits the people.
To ensure the representation of the various tribes in the local government, Duterte recognized a deputy mayor per tribe in the city.
He also shared that the local government is now funding 132 madrasahs in the city from the original 1 madrasah when he became mayor in 1988.
“No one can say that I prioritized Christians in Davao. Everyone is being treated equally,” Duterte said.
In ensuring peace and security, Duterte said he is facing many fronts unlike Luzon who is only facing the New People’s Army and criminality.
“Here I face many fronts including the NPA, MILF, MNLF and Abu Sayyaf. I have to deal with them,” Duterte said.
He also sent a message to the groups that are perpetrating the bombings that he is not an enemy.
“I am not your enemy. I cannot fight. I don’t have the resources and I don’t have an army,” Duterte said.
Earlier, Duterte said he is thinking about canceling the celebration after the bomb attacks in Central Mindanao.
But he decided to continue the festivities after police and military reports confirmed that the security in the city is stable. – Rappler.com