‘Target hardening’ (on backpackers) spoils Kadayawan mood

Aug. 16, 2013


DAVAO CITY –This weekend’s Kadayawan parades will have a tense mood rather than a celebratory one.

City police and armed forces are implementing stricter security measures for parade watchers and tourists alike. Backpacks and camera bags are not allowed within the parade routes. Backpackers who insist on bringing their packs would have to surrender these to the police and claim the items after the parade.

Photo hobbyists were issued stickers to use their cameras. But with the city government using up all stickers and more hobbyists still without a sticker, the city had to announce that photographers with no stickers can still take pictures but cannot take pictures in the area of Rizal Park where officials will stay and view the parade.

These measures could prove to be a dampener for this festival, which was earlier in danger of being cancelled by Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte after bomb attacks hit Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato City and Kabacan.

For Baian Lindo-Valdez, the backpack ban may be problematic for participants like him, as he is performing in an exhibition.

“As a guy who always brings a backpack, it’s very inconvenient especially that I’m participating in its events. I always bring my essentials in it such as my gears and gadgets for gigs, necessary documenting tools such as cameras and food and extra clothing. I can still appreciate the events, but it will be hard to look back at them vividly without my documenting gear within my backpack.  Maybe (I’ll use) a net bag. Pero it feels unsecure kasi pwede initan ng snatchers ang contents (But it feels unsecure because snatchers might get interested),” said Lindo-Valdez.

Former city councilor Attorney Angela Librado-Trinidad wonders if enforcing this ban is necessary to thwart any danger from happening.

“It’s not repulsive for me. In any case, my concern is will this prevent or minimize the danger or peril it seeks to avoid. It’s a question on the end as against reasonable means,” Librado said.

The parades would not only have parade-watchers, participants and visitors flock the streets. Around 1,000 security forces would be deployed around the city, according to Mayor Duterte. These include police, intelligence, soldiers, barangay tanods (watchmen) and volunteers.

The tight measures come at a time when the national government announced ‘target-hardening’ action on suspected threat groups.


President Benigno Aquino III made this announcement last week in the Mindanao Business Conference here in Davao last week.

This week, closed-door meetings were held all over cities in Mindanao with provincial officials, military and police commanders along with national security officials headed by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, and Anti-Terror Council chair Paquito Ochoa Jr.

Officials only revealed few details of these meetings except to say one of the threat groups is a faction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

Davao City Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa added the threat groups do not come from Davao, yet they are targeting the city to “create attention.”

But Mayor Duterte, in an earlier briefing, hinted that the United States government is meddling in this scenario to justify their presence in the island. He also revealed US envoys had asked to convert the old Davao International Airport as a base for its drones.  (davaotoday.com)

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