Press Release
February 27, 2009

Gordon exhorts people of Mabalacat, Pampanga
for reliving their history

Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon today exhorts the people of Mabalacat, Pampanga for preserving their rich cultural heritage and for paying tribute to the leader of the early settlers in their town. Gordon made the exhortation as he is expected to grace today the 2nd Caragan festival as guest of honor and speaker. At least 3,000 students from 32 schools in Mabalacat will join the festival and will march from Barangay Mabiga up to Mabalacat Church Patio.

"He will develop as a nation if we look at our past. We have to know our history," he said. "If we do not know our past, there is no way that we can get in the future with confidence," he added.

Gordon, who had always advocated the preservation of the cultural heritage of the different provinces in the country, supported the people of Mabalacat's effort to promote and preserve their heritage by instilling in the new generation the customs and traditions of the Aetas. Mabalacat, Pampanga is all set for the holding of the 2nd Caragan Festival on Feb. 27 culminating the month-long fiesta celebration. The festival will highlight the Aeta heritage. The festival was named after Caragan, the late chieftain of the Aeta community in Mabalacat, then a forested hinterlands covered with Balacat trees, had been forced to move in the mountains with the onset of modernization. On the way, participants clad in colorful costumes dance their way to the beat of the drum ala Brazil 's Mardi Gras. Mabalacat town is now a first-class municipality on its way to cityhood. Gordon, chairman of the Senate tourism committee, said the festival will greatly improve tourism in Mabalacat, especially when President Arroyo signs into law next month the Tourism Act of 2008 which he authored. The bill seeks to declare a national policy for tourism as an engine of investment, employment, growth and national development. It also aims to reorganize the tourism department and its agencies to effectively and efficiently implement that policy. It also seeks for the establishment of "tourism enterprise zones" in strategic areas, such as Cebu, Davao , Bohol, Laguna, Cavite , Boracay, Palawan and Iloilo , in the country to lure foreign investors and tourists to visit places rich with history and culture. "Tourism has high value. Showcasing Mabalacat's rich heritage will draw tourists into the town.

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