Sagada Mayor James Pooten Jr. said the local government has decided to cancel the Etag festivities scheduled on January 30 to Febryary 4 to prevent the further spread of the virus and also in adherence to the safety protocols and guidelines set by the national and local Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
“It is with a heavy heart that we have had to arrive to a decision to cancel our annual town fiesta and its festivities, but bearing in mind the health and well-being of the members of our community, this is the best course of action that we need to take,” Sagada Municipality social media post stated.
“Despite this, we hope to still keep the vision of our Municipality in heart and in mind as we continue to survive this pandemic: "The municipality of Sagada will be an economically, socially, religiously and culturally progressive society where there is peace, justice and abundance of life."
The Sangguniang Bayan in 2011 enacted the town’s Etag Festival identifying ‘etag’ (pork meat preserved through salting, smoking over a low fire or sun-drying) as a way of life of the people and promoting local products thru the annual celebration.
The festivities highlight the culture and traditions of the Isagada through the various activities and events participated and enjoyed by hundreds of the local residents and the tourists alike.
Due to the prevailing pandemic, the SB last January 4 issued Resolution No. 02-2021 recommending the cancellation of this year’s Etag Festival. It noted that while the local government unit joins the country to jumpstart its strategic plans and promotions to slowly get back with economic, social and cultural development , comes another global problem, which is the UK variant of the COVID-19, putting into a serious threat the country’s economy and social security.
Pooten said that even with the cancellation, Isagada folks continue to produce etag despite also being affected by the depleting pork meat due to the African Swine Fever .
Meanwhile, Pooten said that with the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the municipality and in the entire Mountain Province, the possible re - opening of Sagada to tourists will be put to halt to ensure the safety and health of the people.
As of January 14, Sagada recorded five new COVID-19 cases bringing the total cases to 14 with seven recoveries and seven active cases. Most of the new cases are close contacts of known COVID-19 cases.
The Mayor again reminded his constituents to follow all the health protocols and guidelines particularly the minimum health standards of wearing masks, maintaining good hygiene by washing hands and avoiding crowd drawing and mass gathering activities to prevent the further spread of the virus.(JDP/ RMC- PIA-CAR)
By Redjie Melvic M. Cawis