Bacolod LGU cancels 2020 MassKara Festival

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Photo courtesy: Bacolod City Public Information Office/Facebook

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 22) - There will be no Mardi-Gras-themed street party in the City of Smiles this year as the Bacolod Cty government cancelled the 2020 MassKara Festival because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The local government issued on Sunday its Executive Order No. 62 to formalize the cancellation of all activities related to the 2020 MassKara Festival.

It also ordered its Business Permits and Licensing Office to set aside issuance of business permits or licenses related to the holding of the 2020 MassKara Festival. Likewise, prior permits issued are deemed revoked.

Bacolod City is under a stricter modified enhanced community quarantine due to its high number of COVID-19 infections.

As of Monday, the city recorded 64 new cases, bringing total tally at 3,079 confirmed cases. Some 159 recoveries were added, hiking the count to 1,763. While 51 died in the city due to COVID-19.

The MassKara Festival is held annually during the fourth Sunday of October, backed by a month-long celebration in the city.

Inspired by the Rio Carnival in Brazil, the MassKara Festival was conceptualized in the 1980s to uplift the spirits of the locals when a tragic ferry incident killed its passengers who were mostly Bacolod residents. The tragedy also caused the price of sugar, Negros Occidental's main source of livelihood, to reach an all-time low.

Colorful masks are worn by residents parading in the MassKara Festival while doing the traditional street dances. The word MassKara literally means "many faces."