By Tara Yap
ILOILO CITY — While fiestas will now be allowed under a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. said many town mayors in Iloilo province were still not favorable of holding the traditional annual feasts.
“It is up to our mayors how to conduct fiestas, but there are mayors who expressed they won’t allow it since it will be hard to manage social distancing,” said Defensor during his regular press conference.
Under the guidelines released by the national task force against coronavirus disease (COVID-19), public gatherings will be allowed as long it these would be 50 percent of the venue’s capacity.
Defensor’s latest executive order allows fiestas but said he will issue additional safety guidelines on how to conduct fiesta activities in the province’s 42 towns and the component city of Passi.
Iloilo Provincial Tourism Officer Gilbert Marin told The Manila Bulletin Friday that several local governments were already inquiring if the traditional local beauty pageants and the “bayle (dances during fiestas)” will be allowed.
“They also want to be cautious,” Marin added.
For this month, five towns are slated to have their annual fiesta on June 24 to coincide with the feast of their patron Saint John the Baptist. These are the towns of Badiangan, Banate, Barotac Viejo, Dingle, and Sara.
The town of Barotac Nuevo is supposed to have its fiesta on June 13 to coincide with the feast of Saint Anthony of Padua.