Last week, Biñan City, Laguna once again celebrated its rich historical and cultural heritage with the “Araw ng Biñan,” a three-day celebration of three important moments in the city’s history.
The enthusiastic and heartfelt participation of Biñanenses in the festivities has confirmed the observation made by some: that the city has finally found its own unique identity, of a city that celebrates both its rich past and its progressive future.
That’s the trend being followed now by almost every town and city here in Laguna province.
And we’re not talking about the One Town, One Product (OTOP) campaign of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) which seeks to find a unique “marketable” product each town can offer, but more importantly, about cities and towns in the province seeking out the answer to a question individuals and corporations alike have asked for centuries: “Sino ba talaga kami? Ano nga ba kami?”
Every town or city has its unique characteristics that bind the residents, no matter where they came from, no matter what their religious or political affiliation or allegiance may be.
And many LGUs here in Laguna province, in a bid to rekindle people’s active participation and love for their city or town, have recently started conducting “cultural mapping” as part of (re)discovering their own unique identities.
Naysayers and critics charge that this drive is often used – and abused – by traditional politicians to enhance their own identities and cement their grip on their constituencies.
While there may be a grain of truth in these allegations, let us consider this: the very lack of a unique identity has been blamed for the apathy and lack of active participation Filipinos had in nation-building.
The same holds at the local level. How can we encourage our people to participate in the programs and projects of our LGUs, much less even pay local taxes or do our part in encouraging socio-economic progress, if we don’t even know what makes our town or city unique?
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