Peace and tranquility cap NothCot’s ethnic festival PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 29 August 2013 11:43

The local communities in North Cotabato now looks forward to a peaceful culmination  of the Kalivungan Festival on September 1, grateful to authorities for providing extra tight security to thousands of participants that keep coming to witness the week-long event.

No fewer than 80 entrepreneurs from different areas in the province have been exhibiting indigenous products at the provincial capitol grounds since August 26, as part of the provincial government’s effort to showcase in the festival the investment potentials of North Cotabato.

Local residents have since been witnessing sports events and cultural shows at the well-secured sprawling provincial capitol compound in Barangay Amas, Kidapawan City.

Organized by the office of Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, the festival, which highlights the 99th founding anniversary of the province, shows the rich cultures and ethnic identities of the local communities, and the eco-tourism potentials and value of the untapped resources that can be found in its 17 towns and in Kidapawan City, the provincial capital.

The term Kalivungan in Menuvu dialect means either a special gathering, or convergence of tribal leaders for an important purpose.

North Cotabato is home to Muslims, Christians, and to culturally-diverse indigenous highland groups that dwell in densely forested enclaves at Mt. Apo, the country’s highest peak, which is so rich in wildlife and timbers, and host to two geothermal power plants supplying about one-third of Mindanao’s daily power needs.

The province also covers a vast portion of the 220,000-hectare Liguasan Delta, which has vast deposits of natural gas waiting to be harnessed. There were documented cases of Moro farmers in North Cotabato towns located along the marsh who constructed artesian pumps that emitted flammable gas with pressure, instead of pumping out potable water.

Kidapawan City Mayor Joseph Evangelista, whose office has been helping the provincial government secure the venue of the festival, said he is grateful to the support of the police and military to the week-long merry-making.

Members of the Team Cotabato, a newly-organized group of gun enthusiasts in Cotabato City, said witnessing the festival activities at the provincial capitol was more fun than participating in a shooting competition that capped the start of the week-long festivities.

“The reception extended to us was reflective of the hospitality of North Cotabato’s mixed Moro,  Christian and indigenous highland communities,” commented Team Cotabato’s ace shooter, Kirby Matalam Abdullah, champion in the “production pistol category” of the two-day Kalivungan shooting competition.

Mendoza said credit has to go to all the local government units in the province, the provincial board, the provincial police, the Army’s 57th Infantry Battalion and the 602nd Brigade for working together to prevent third parties from sabotaging the Kalivungan Festival.

“There were apprehensions when we we’re still planning the activities for the festival owing to the spate of bombings and a series of attacks by armed groups in parts of province. We ought to thank all sectors, particularly the LGUs, for helping us out with our security efforts for the festival,” Mendoza said.

The Kalivungan Festival, according to Mendoza, aims to disseminate what was for her a “glaring reality” that the province now has a good investment climate, after bouncing back from armed conflicts in 2000 to 2008, and from the natural calamities that hit North Cotabato in recent months.