This year's celebration of the MassKara Festival serves as a signal that the Philippines is ready to return to its pre-pandemic economic activities, President Marcos said.
Speaking at the culmination activity of the month-long celebration of the MassKara Festival on Sunday, Oct. 23, Marcos lauded Bacolod City for holding the celebration two years after Covid-19 pandemic hit the country.
Successfully holding one of the biggest festivals in the country, he said, signifies that the country is now ready to open its doors to both tourism and more economic activities key to economic growth.
"Pinakita ninyo sa pag-celebrate ng MassKara Festival, ngayong nakaraang ilang linggo, pinakita ninyo sa buong Pilipinas at sa buong mundo na tayo dito sa Pilipinas ay nakabalik na, handa na bumalik sa trabaho, tayo ay bumalik na eskwelahan ang ating mga kabataan at tayo ay babalik na sa ating dating ginagawa na pagandahin at pataasin ang ekonomiya ng Pilipinas para maging mas maginhawa ang buhay ng bawat Pilipino (Through your celebration of MassKara Festival in the previous weeks, you showed the Philippines and the world that the Philippines is back, that we are ready to go back to our work, classes are back, and we are going back to what we used to do to strengthen the country's economy to improve the lives of every Filipino)," Marcos said.
He said that the people of Bacolod City serve as an example that the rest of the country can also recover from the impacts of the pandemic.
"Sa ganyang paraan ang mga tiga Bacolod ay magiging halimbawa para sa buong Pilipinas. Pag alis ko dito sasabihin ko sa lahat kung kaya nilang gawin ang MassKara Festival sa Bacolod, dapat tayong lahat din ay ganyan din na bumangon na tayo at dahil ang aking pangako sa inyo ay tuloy tuloy ang ating pagbangon (That way, the people of Bacolod will be an example for the entire Philippines. When I leave, I will tell everyone that if Bacolold was able to do it with MassKara Festival, then we must also rise and I promise you that we will rise)," he added.
The President then expressed hope that with this development, the local government of Bacolod will carry on with its programs for the benefit of the people.
He commended the city's Comprehensive Health Program that provides hospitalization services, annual consultation, and medicines to its citizens to ensure a successful post-pandemic recovery.
He also mentioned the city's upcoming launch of a social pensions fund for senior citizens.
"Kaya't inaasahan natin na ang city government ay itutuloy ang kanilang mga programa at proyekto para mapaganda ang patakbo ng ating kabuhayan hindi lamang sa Bacolod kung hindi sa buong Pilipinas (So we hope that the city government will continue with its programs and projects aimed at improving the quality of life in Bacolod and the entire Philippines)," he said.
MassKara, which literally translates to ‘many faces’, was created out of a crisis in the 1980s when the global price of sugar – Bacolod’s main agricultural crop – plummeted at a record-low. The MassKara Festival was then held to uplift the spirit of locals during those difficult times.
Dubbed as the City of Smiles, Bacolod parades many smiling masks and colorful costumes donned by locals during the festive celebration. Various sports competitions, street dances, food conventions, art exhibits and musical performances were held leading to the culmination of the MassKara Festival.