Air Force helicopters make surprise appearance during Parada Dabawenyo

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 16 March) – Helicopters of the Philippine Air Force’s Tactical Operations Group (TOG) 11 made a surprise appearance during the Parada Dabawenyo, a socio-civic parade and one of the festival highlights of the 81st Araw ng Davao, on Friday morning.

An MD-520 attack helicopter during the “Parada Dabawenyo.” MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

The crowd was amused at the short spectacle with MD-520 attack helicopters flying over San Pedro Street, the endpoint of the almost six-hour parade, while dropping petals much to the delight of the parade contingents and festivalgoers.

It went on for about 10 minutes.

The TOG 11 is tasked to plan, control, and coordinate the employment of tactical air support elements for the military within the Davao Region (provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, Davao Occidental, and City of Davao) and Agusan del Sur in the Caraga Region.

The 362-contingent parade started at 6 a.m. and ended almost noon, with the City Government distributing food packs consisting of “lechon baka” (roasted beef), roasted chicken, rice, and drinks.

It started at Roxas Ave., going to C.M. Recto Ave., then Bonifacio St., Pelayo St., and San Pedro St.

Mayor Sara Duterte said she was thankful to the visitors and the Dabawenyos for participating in the activities of the month-long festival.

“I call on them to be united, stay strong and resilient because these characters of the Dabawenyos are our contribution to nation-building,” she said.

Her father, Rodrigo R. Duterte, was mayor of Davao City for 22 years before elected as President in 2016.

“The success of the event depends on the happiness and satisfaction of the people. So far, we can see that they are very supportive and united – that’s our measure of how successful our celebration of 81st Araw ng Davao is,” she added.

Duterte added that some of the big personalities, some of them politicians from different cities in the country, were amazed at the size of the contingents in this year’s “Parada.”

The late President Manuel L. Quezon signed Commonwealth Act No. 51 creating the City of Davao on October 16, 1936, but it was inaugurated on March 1, 1937 with then Interior Secretary Elpidio Quirino. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)