Mayor Bongat assures clergy of religious flavor to Peñafrancia Fiesta

Street parties, beer plazas not allowed
Monsignor Romulo Vergara, rector of the Basilica Minore, and representatives of Archdiocese of Nueva Caceres giving a press conference.

NAGA CITY (August 27, 2011) - The members of the local Catholic hierarchy have reasons to smile after Naga City Mayor John Bongat recapitulated to their request to prohibit street parties, beer plazas and other activities deemed to hurt tradition and distract devotion to Bicolandia's patron saint whose feast shall be celebrated this coming September.

A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed by Mayor Bongat in behalf of the Naga City government and the representatives of the Archdiocese of Nueva Caceres to provide guidelines to the city government on what activities are acceptable to the local clergy during the celebration of the week-long Peñafrancia Fiesta.

The agreement was announced by Monsignor Romulo Vergara, rector of the Basilica Minore, adding that this year's celebration is of great significance, being the first year after the Tercentenary of the devotion to the Nuestra Sigñora de Peñafrancia, which was celebrated last year.

During the term of former Naga City Mayor, now Interior and Local Government Secretary, Jesse Robredo, activities that gave the Peñafrancia Fiesta secular flavor like street parties, beer plazas, civic-military parades and beauty pageants were contentious issues.

The supportive stance of the former chief executive to such activities earned for him the ire of the local clergy.