ILOILO City – A new foundation will be formed to manage the Dinagyang Festival and other festivals of the city.
Mayor-elect Jerry Treñas confirmed his administration would no longer tap the Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation, Inc. (IDFI) as yearly partner for the festival’s staging starting this January 2020. This decision is non-negotiable, he stressed.
IDFI got Treñas’ ire in January this year for not inviting him to the festivities.
In a previous interview, Treñas said that as an official of the city, he should have been invited and that the festival should have been spared from politics. He was then running for mayor against Mayor Jose Espinosa III.
It was during Treñas’ term as mayor from 2001 to 2010 that the private sector – the IDFI for that matter – was tapped as official managing partner of the Iloilo City government and the Parish of San Jose de Placer for the Dinagyang.
In deciding to drop IDFI, Treñas said there were people in the foundation that he could no longer work with.
He also said the IDFI has no ownership or exclusive right over the staging of Dinagyang “kay ti iya ina sang pumoluyo sang syudad.”
IDFI chief Ramon Cua-Locsin, a former city councilor, could not be reached for comment as of this writing.
Espinosa, on the other hand, had long denied he had a hand in the non-invitation of Treñas to the 2019 Dinagyang.
“Wala ko gapahilabot sa program sang IDFI,” said Espinosa in a previous interview.
Treñas confirmed having held initial talks with a group of individuals who will form the new Iloilo City Festival Foundation, Inc. (ICFF) but declined to identify them.
The mayor-elect said he would right away start working with the people that would compose the ICFF for early Dinagyang 2020 preparations.
“It’s just six months away,” said Treñas.
The Dinagyang is held every fourth Saturday and Sunday of January.
Dinagyang is the Hiligaynon word for merrymaking. The revelry started in 1967 when a replica of the Santo Niño de Cebu was brought from Cebu to the San Jose de Placer Church here.
The image, accompanied by devotees from Cebu, was enthusiastically received by the Ilonggos who danced on the streets of the city to the tune of rumbling drums.
In 1968, the festival was formally launched.
Dinagyang is Iloilo City’s version of the Ati-atihan celebrations widely observed not only in Panay Island but also in other parts of the country. It may not be as ancient as the one in Kalibo, Aklan but it is known more for the participants’ impressive choreography and striking costumes that reflect the ingenuity, craftsmanship and artistry of the Ilonggos./PN