CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY(MindaNews/24 August)— Security measures have been tightened in this city in line with the annual celebration of the week-long Kagay-an Festival, which will start on Sunday.
One of the highlights of the festival is the Feast of St. Augustine, the city’s patron saint, which will be on August 28, Tuesday.
Sr. Supt. Gerardo Rosales, city police director, said that security have been tightened in strategic places across the city to ensure the safety of the thousands expected to flock the celebrations.
The Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (COCPO) has started the security preparations since last week for the activities spread from August 26 to 31.
The festival’s attractions include the Kahimunan Trade Fair, which showcases the native products and farm produce of the city and Misamis Oriental province, Miss Kagay-an Beauty Pageant, Folkoric Street Dancing Competition, Golden Float Competition, Halad sa Lambagohan, and Kumbira, a culinary show and exhibit of the city’s hotels and restaurants.
Chief Insp. Lemuel Gonda, head of COCPO’s planning and operations division, said that Task Force San Agustin was created to implement the security measures in the city.
“The COCPO will be deploying around 350 uniformed personnel all over Cagayan de Oro. An additional 150 personnel from the Regional Public Safety Battalion and 100 students from the Regional Training School will also beef up our forces,” he said.
Gonda added that the task force will also be augmented by elements of the Roads and Traffic Administration to help ease the traffic condition, as more people from other towns and cities are expected to troop to the city.
He said that more police officers will secure the strategic areas in barangays Kauswagan in the west and Puerto and Bugo in the east.
Gonda said they will conduct “Oplan Bakal Sita” and that visiting politicians and dignitaries will be monitored closely “to prevent the proliferation of loose firearms” in the duration of the festival.
Rosales urged the public not to let their guards down even as he ordered the police stations all over the city to be ready for any untoward situation.
“Criminal elements might take the opportunity to engage in armed robbery hold-up, carnapping, pickpocket, snatching and other forms of criminal activities during the fiesta celebration,” Rosales said.
The Philippine Army’s Fourth Infantry “Diamond” Division—which is based in Camp Edilberto Evangelista in Barangay Patag—will also deploy troops to supplement the city’s police force.
Lt. Col. Eugenio Julio Osias IV, 4ID spokesperson, said they have not monitored any security threats to the city as of press time Friday.
Aside from augmenting the police, Osias said the division’s musical band will perform in a free concert. (Cong B. Corrales and Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)