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ILIGAN CITY, Philippines – The Iligan City government on Wednesday, September 7, called off the Woodstock-inspired Iligan Music Festival in response to an uproar caused by a teaser on the organizers’ Facebook page that was loaded with sexual innuendo.
Iligan Mayor Frederick Siao earlier called out organizers of the music festival, saying he would not turn a blind eye to inappropriate language posted on social media pages associated with Iligan fiesta-related activities being supported by the local government.
The controversial post was taken down on Tuesday, September 6, but not after it spread and quickly sparked an uproar in the predominantly Catholic Iligan.
It read: “It’s not just a Music Festival but also a TENT FESTIVAL good for 3 days with fun and music! Bring your friends/girlfriend/boyfriend/bbgurl/bbboy and unwind! Showcase your TENT! SEX and Rock n Roll!!! Baby!!”
Organizers drew flak even after the post was taken down, prompting the administrators of the Iligan Music Festival page to post a public apology.
“The production team of Iligan Music Festival humbly apologizes to everyone offended by the inappropriate post made earlier today. Admittedly, we felt short of filtering what was posted. There is no excuse for that glaring shortcoming of ours. That was not definitely our message for the Iligan Music Festival. We dreamt of having people HOOKED to music, friends, families and, of course, the best of Iligan’s tourism can offer. We pray for all your understanding,” read the apology.
In another statement on Wednesday, Marquez apologized again, this time to Mayor Siao and city hall’s fiesta organizers “for the unacceptable post made yesterday.”
Marquez said Siao and other city hall officials were dragged into the controversy as a result, noting that the local officials took the brunt of criticisms instead.
“We alone deserve all the criticisms – please exclude the Diyandi (executive management board) and Mayor Frederick Siao,” he said.
The fate of the planned Iligan Music Festival has become uncertain as a result of the controversy.
Iligan tourism chief Agnes Clerigo told Rappler that the music festival was already removed from city hall’s list of activities during the Diyandi Festival on orders coming from Siao.
Clerigo said the organizers of the event went to city hall to apologize.
But Clerigo said the decision was not final, and the organizers may appeal the decision.
“We are not condoning any undertaking that espouses free sex or promiscuity or insinuations like that,” she said.
The Reverend Father Carmelo Pocdol, the parochial vicar of the Saint Michael Cathedral, said he was disappointed with the messaging of the Iligan Music Festival organizers, calling it “very worldly.”
He said the music festival should showcase the musical talents of Iligan’s youth.
“We should see that our activities are within moral dimensions. Our celebration is centered on the feast of Señor San Miguel,” Pocdol said.
Earlier, Siao said he asked the Diyandi Festival executive management board to look into what had happened and decide with finality on the fate of the three-day music festival which organizers hoped would be like the Woodstock Rock Festival that drew more than 400,000 young people in Bethel, New York, in August 1969.
Iligan officials launched the Diyandi Festival last week to make up for the two years of lockdowns, strict public health rules, and curfews that were resorted to in Iligan City due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The festival activities lead up to the September 29 feast of Saint Michael the Archangel, Iligan’s patron saint.
It was Iligan that recorded the first hospital confinement of a COVID-19-infected person in Mindanao in March 2020. – Rappler.com