MAKATI CAPS YEAR 2003 WITH 'ELECTRIC PARADE' MONDAY NIGHT

MANILA, December 20, 2003  (STAR) Makati City will be aglow on Monday night with thousands of Christmas lights for its first ever Makati Electric Parade.

The Electric Parade will showcase jeepneys, calesas and floats decorated with Christmas lights, a statement from the Makati City government said yesterday.

The parade will make its way through the streets of Makatiís first and second districts and in the Central Business District (CBD) along Ayala Avenue, Ayala Center, and Rockwell Center.

Private companies and government officials are participating in the parade.

Makati, the countryís financial capital, staged several extravagant events for 2003 "to stake a claim on the title as the events capital of the country," the statement added.

Makati managed to survive incidents that caused a blow to the countryís political and economic stability such as the failed July 27 Oakwood mutiny led by junior military officers, bank robberies, a violent dispersal of opposition followers that demanded the resignation of President Arroyo and Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., and just over the weekend, the escape of a suspected Chinese drug trafficker from the city jail.

The city opened the year with the street carnival "Caracol," Makatiís version of the New Orleans mardi gras at the Glorietta Center.

The city government also had high profile celebrations of the Chinese New Year, the cityís 333rd foundation Day, the Makati Cinemanila International Film Festival, that saw Hollywood stars Lou Diamond Phillips and Tia Carrere grace the event, and most recently a motor show featuring vintage and late-model cars from the cityís car collectors and leading auto dealers.

"This year has been a very meaningful year for Makati. But underlying all these events is a celebration of partnership between the city government, city residents, and the private sector," Mayor Jejomar Binay said in the statement.

Binay noted that such partnership contributed to the cityís progress as a community, "especially Makatiís distinction as a financial, commercial, and tourism capital, and a leader in public services." Ė Nikko Dizon


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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