San Jose City hosted the 6th Gatas ng Kalabaw Festival in Nueva Ecija last August 10. The event was the highlight of the 43rd anniversary celebration of the cityhood of San Jose.
“We are honored to host this festival,” Mayor Marivic Belena said in her speech during the opening ceremonies held at Pag-Asa Gym. “This festival not only adds color to the observance of our city’s anniversary, it also makes us understand better the very purpose of why we should continue to support the national carabao improvement program,” she added.
Mayor Belena said the city government gave its full support to the program knowing that it can do good in empowering the rural families, as well as their communities in San Jose City.
Nueva Ecija Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) provincial director Brigida Pili said the festival was jointly launched by different government and private agencies to give emphasis to the importance of carabao’s milk for the human health as well as in improving the economic welfare of local dairy farmers and entrepreneurs.
Later that day, carabao-pulled carts/floats were paraded by the dairy cooperatives and barangays of the city. The parade aimed to showcase carabaos owned by smallholder dairy farmers. Most of the floats were loaded with various kinds of milk products while others were decorated with farm products.
San Jose City is home to two of the best dairy cooperatives in Nueva Ecija which is the national impact zone for carabao dairying. These are the Simula ng Panibagong Bukas Primary Multi- Purpose Cooperative (SIPBUPCO) and Easterm Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative.
During the program, six new dairy cooperatives which were recipients of 25-dairy buffalo module of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) were recognized.
Also honored in the program were the outstanding cooperatives and barangays, the PCC for espousing carabao-based livelihood programs and the PCC at CLSU products outlet for its achievements in milk products development and marketing.
Nueva Ecija 2nd district Rep. Joseph F. Violago and Vice Governor Gay Padiernos graced the event. Both congratulated San Jose City for its successful hosting of the festival and for its achievements and contributions so far in boosting the local dairy industry.
They joined other key officials of the city and select children in the ceremonial milk toast which the organizers called “Tagay-Pugay”.
The 7th Gatas ng Kalabaw Festival” will be hosted next year by the municipal government of Gen. Natividad, Nueva Ecija.