President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Sunday said the Philippines was ready to return to pre-Covid-19 pandemic normalcy as he graced the culminating activity of the Masskara Festival in Bacolod.

In his speech, the president said he was glad the country had already overcome the pandemic’s worst.

“Ngayon na nararamdaman natin na ang pandemya ay nababawasan na at tayo’y nakaka — alam na natin kung papaano i-manage ang Covid ay nakakatuwa naman na nandito tayo, nagkataon tayo na magsama ulit,” he said.

Events such as the Masskara Festival were huge for the country’s tourism, the president said.

“Pagkatapos ng dalawang taon, may pagkakataon uli tayo na buksan ang ating mga pintuan sa lahat ng mga bisita na nanggagaling kung saan-saan. Hindi lamang sa Pilipinas kung hindi sa iba’t ibang bansa, para sila naman ay makita nila at mapamahal na rin sila sa Bacolod City at sa lahat sa mga tiga-Bacolod,” he added.

This year’s Masskara Festival was held under the theme “Balik Yuhum!” (smile again). It was the first to be held since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out.

The Philippines remains under a state of emergency due to Covid-19 but has had most of its pandemic restrictions lifted under the Marcos Jr. administration. John Ezekiel J. Hirro