DAVAO ORIENTAL, Philippines – Davao started pre-charter day activities with thousands of government security personnel deployed across the city beginning on Monday, March 1, to ensure a peaceful and orderly celebration.
Security has been tightened ahead of the city’s 86th founding anniversary on March 3 when former president Rodrigo Duterte and her vice president-daughter Sara – two ex-mayors of the city – are expected to join local officials during the merrymaking.
March 3 has been declared a non-working holiday in Davao City by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Authorities said there was no direct threat of violence to the festivities, but they were taking extra precautions.
At least 11,000 government security forces would be deployed across different event venues in the city to ensure a peaceful and joyous celebration, said Major Catherine dela Rey, spokesperson of the Davao City Police Office (DCPO).
She said security measures were in place such as the prohibition of backpacks, umbrellas, bottled water, and stuffed toys – items that are often used by terrorists – in public places were the charter day events have been scheduled.
Although there is no gun ban for the entire duration of the month-long festivities, license firearms owners are advised to deposit their weapons at the Task Force Davao, police said.
Task Force Davao commander Colonel Darren Comia said the city’s Safety and Security Cluster prepared for the month-long celebration with simulation exercises in popular areas to test their capacity for ensuring the safety and security of the city.
The exercises were aimed to improve the coordination and communication among the different agencies involved in ensuring the safety and security of the city, as well as to identify areas that need improvement.
The local government anticipates more than 50,000 visitors to take part in the Davao’s celebration of its 86-year-old cityhood.
The month-long celebration will feature a range of activities, including the Search for Reyna Dabawenya 2023, and conclude with a 3D drone light show and a grand fireworks display.
As early as February, the city’s hotels were already fully booked that Davao Councilor Bernie Al-ag appealed to small inns that closed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic to reopen, and private owners of unused condominium units to offer their properties via Airbnb to help address the shortage of accommodation. – Rappler.com
Ferdinand Zuasola is an Aries Rufo Journalism fellow.
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