BACOLOD City – With a little over two weeks before the 39th MassKara Festival kicks off, security preparations are in full blast as more policemen have been deployed here this week.
Senior Supt. Francisco Ebreo, acting city police director, said that as of Thursday, agencies and units in-charge of securing the upcoming festival have met for a two-day contingency planning and workshop.
The 21-day MassKara Festival 2018 will be held on October 8 to 28 at the Bacolod Public Plaza, the Lacson Tourism Strip, and at the Bacolod City Government Center grounds.
During the planning, Ebreo said they discussed possible scenarios, emergency situations, and other eventualities.
He added they need to determine immediate actions, check the resources, and assess the response of the unit commanders.
“We expect everything that may happen, we are thinking outside of the box,” Ebreo said.
He said the Bacolod City Police Office has initially asked for an augmentation of 1,700 policemen from the Police Regional Office-Western Visayas in Iloilo City.
The first batch of 150 policemen arrived in the city on Wednesday.
Ebreo said the reinforcement personnel could still increase as more activities will be scheduled for the festival.
Although there is no specific security threat, Ebreo said the security preparations was aimed at preventing possible terror attacks, similar to those that happened in Mindanao recently.
“We cannot be complacent,” he said.
The guests expected to attend the festival include President Rodrigo Duterte, who was invited by Mayor Evelio Leonardia to be the guest of honor for the third time.
“Definitely, we are inviting the President. If that happens, it will be historic because I don’t think there is any festival in the Philippines the President has visited consistently three times,” the mayor had earlier said.
The festival highlights will be on October 26 to 28.
This year, the MassKara festivities will culminate on October 28, in accordance with the ordinance setting the fourth Sunday of October as the permanent date of the highlights. (PNA)