Police on alert as GenSan’s Tuna Fest opens

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 1 Sep) – The Police Regional Office-12 deployed additional police personnel in parts of the city in connection with Tuesday’s opening of the city’s week-long 47th foundation anniversary celebration and 17th Tuna Festival.

Supt. Edgar Yago, operations chief of the city police office, said at least 615 police officers and non-commissioned personnel will secure various venues and the lined up events for the festivities until Sept. 6.

He said the PRO-12 augmented the city police’s security operations for the festival with personnel from the regional training school, regional office and the regional police public safety battalion.

Troops from the Philippine Army-led Joint Task Force GenSan, barangay policemen and members of volunteer group Magdalo were also deployed in the main festival venues, especially at the city’s oval plaza grounds.

“We’re on red alert right now and rest assured that we’re doing everything to make sure that the celebrations will be smooth, orderly and peaceful,” Yago said.

The official said the security deployment at the oval plaza and other festival venues will be on 24-hour basis that will be divided in three shifts.

He said they have also installed closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in each of the six entry and exit points of the oval plaza, eight at the carnival area and two at the security command post.

There are existing CCTV cameras in strategic areas of the streets surrounding the oval plaza grounds, he said.

Yago said they have set up a monitoring station for the installed CCTVs at their command post, which also serves as the base of standby personnel from the City Health Office, Red Cross and the Bureau of Fire Protection.

The festival, which is co-organized by the city government and the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority-General Santos Fish Port Complex, had a soft opening last Aug. 15 but the highlights were set from Sept. 1 to 6.

Minor activities were lined up at the oval plaza and other parts of the city until Sept. 15.

After the highlight of the celebration on Sept. 6, Yago said they will maintain a security strength of 249 personnel at the oval plaza.

Meantime, Carlos Hagosojos, 17th Tuna Festival director, said eight entities will compete in the tuna float parade, which is slated before the grand opening ceremonies at 6 p.m.

He said the opening ceremony will include a light and sounds show, balloon show, fireworks display and cultural shows from 235 performers.

It will be highlighted by the ceremonial cutting of a whole yellowfin tuna, which will be offered to the public by 100 chefs.

City Councilor Shanee Llido Pestano, chair of the council’s tourism committee, said they will also formally unveil the certificate for the Guinness record achieved by the city for the “world’s largest fish display.”

The city government received earlier his month the certificate for such feat, which was achieved on Sept. 11, 2014.

The world record bid was the highlight of the city’s 46th charter anniversary celebration and 16th Tuna Festival last year.

The Guinness certificate read: “The largest fish display consists of 25,594.49 kg (56,426 lb 3 oz) of yellowfin tuna and was achieved by the City of General Santos, South Cotabato, Philippines.”