LAGAWE, Ifugao, June 16 (PIA) - -The ‘Gotad’ is a cultural heritage that defines the soul and character of the Ifugaos.
Thus described Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary Evelyn Laviña of the Ifugao festival in her message read by DA-Cordillera Technical Adviser Cameron Odsey during the opening day program of the 2017 Gotad Ad Ifugao and the 51st founding anniversary of the province last June 14 at the Provincial Capitol Plaza here.
Laviña was the invited opening day guest of honor but could not make it due to health reasons.
The Usec stated that this cherished Gotad Ad Ifugao tradition of coming together in celebration through singing, dancing and drinking usually after the harvest season of palay is a cultural heritage. She is proud and especially in admiration of the Ifugaos’ deep respect and how they value the centrality of the earth’s produce and the whole agricultural process behind it handed by ancestors one generation after the other.
Laviña related that she has not seen this almost reverence-like regard for a lifestyle and agricultural and cultural practice anywhere in the Philippines and cannot stress how important it is for the Ifugaos to preserve their culture and tradition which she thinks is the secret of the resiliency, strength and continuity as a people and province.
She marveled at how beautiful the forested mountains in Ifugao are and she read that this environmental wonder of conserved forests is the result of the concerted effort of the Ifugao people, which has become the life-source of domestic and agricultural water. The Philippines is lucky she said and thanked the Ifugaos for the world-famous Banaue rice terraces.
As a gesture of solidarity, cooperation and belief to the Ifugaos, Laviña said the government through its various agencies and instrumentalities has also started concrete steps to help preserve the environment, the traditions and products of the Ifugaos such as the heirloom rice.
The DA will remain dedicated to mutually generate beneficial growth for both farmers and stakeholders and consumers with the objective of improving the economic, social and cultural status of farmers, improving their quality of lives and contributing to the balanced development of the national economy becomes achievable by strengthening the bond that keeps us together.
“Probably, even these efforts are not enough, late in coming and not really done for the appropriate reasons we shall not give up, slow down nor neglect our duties because throughout the years the Ifugaos have done their share and our President and our Secretary are committed to make the necessary change to make the lives of the Filipinos better than it has been”, Laviña concluded. Daniel B. Codamon(JDP/DBC- PIA CAR, Ifugao)