ANGONO, Rizal — Vice President Sara Duterte on Sunday joined the Rizaleños in celebrating the Higantes Festival in this town, which is also known as the Art Capital of the Philippines.
It was the first physical celebration of the Higantes Festival after two years due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“It is an honor to celebrate Higantes Festival with you, the proud people of Angono, who continue the noble work of ensuring that we do not forget the historical significance of this festival,” Duterte, in her 12-minute speech, said.
“Through these colorful and gigantic papier-mâché puppets, our forebears expressed their deep-seated yearning for freedom that planted the seeds and the call for change,” she added.
The Vice President lauded the municipality of Angono for portraying art through the Higantes festival as a “powerful tool that could help the growth and development of our children.”
She also reiterated how art, through countless published articles, shows its benefits to children’s growth and development, including its impact on early childhood education and the development of their creativity, skills, and talents, among others.
“Your celebration is a reminder of how art — as it flows through our history, our culture, our traditions, and our life — binds us together as a people with a common pursuit of a stronger nation,” Duterte said.
Duterte also acknowledged the recent achievements of the local government unit of Angono by being recognized as the most competitive municipality in terms of infrastructure during the recently concluded 10th Cities, Municipalities Competitive Summit, and ranking as the sixth most competitive municipality out of more than 1,400 municipalities across the country.
The municipality of Angono also repeatedly achieved the Seal of Good Local Governance from the Department of the Interior and Local Government from 2015 to 2020.
“Indeed, Angono’s local government has gone a long way in its mission to uplift the lives of its people and promote socio-economic development. From a third-class municipality in 1998, Angono is now a first-class municipality. At dahil iyon sa pagkakaisa ninyong lahat. Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, your town’s economy grew with gross sales of registered firms reaching over 14 billion,” Duterte said.
The Vice President ended her message by emphasizing the importance of education as a tool for development, to invest in the future of children, and keeping them away from the hands of groups like the New People’s Army and their front organizations, and away from the lure of illegal drugs.
Duterte is also the secretary of Education.
“Thank you, Angono, for giving the Filipinos an example of how we can continue to value our history while also bravely marching toward the future, Duterte said.
“May the Higantes Festival inspire the rest of the Philippines to help us revive Filipino solidarity through art,” she added.