DANAO FOREST PARK, Maasin City (PIA) -- There were no guests physically attending the 21st cityhood anniversary held deep in this forested area due to restricted movements under the pandemic, but that did not deter those invited visitors to send greetings using audio technology.

Some five cabinet secretaries and three senators just the same made their presence felt, sending messages of inspiration and courage in spite of the raging challenge posed by the mutating COVID-19 virus.

They included Usec. Mon Cualoping, PIA director-general; PCOO Sec. Martin Andanar; Sec. Harry Roque, presidential spokesperson; Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles; and DPWH Sec. Mark Villar.

The three senators were Sen. Sonny Angara, Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Sen. Bong Go.

City Mayor Nacional Mercado said he sent invitations to 20 national officials, and only those mentioned were able to communicate their thoughts through audio recording.

The well-wishers focused their greetings on the continued development of the city looking back over the past 21 years and onwards even in the midst of challenges brought about by COVID-19 virus.

Senator Angara singled out his role as one of those who voted for the cityhood bill, and now he said he felt happy seeing the progress the city has attained.

Mayor Mercado said President Rodrigo Roa Duterte was one of those being sent invites, and as soon as the president’s message can be had this will be posted at the city LGU facebook page. (LDL/MMP/PIA-8/Southern Leyte)