GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 04 September) — The chair of the tourism council here declared the “tuna-all-you-can” feast Monday night a success as no untoward incident happened and thousands of residents and tourists flocked to the fourth edition of the Tuna Festival’s “Sugbahan sa Dalan.”
Residents and tourists feasted on a ton of grilled and roasted tuna here on Monday night despite the rains and the area’s volatile security situation.
Thousands of people crowded a stretch of the Pioneer Avenue at the city’s main commercial center for the annual “tuna-all-you-can” showcase hosted by the city government.
“Masaya kami na kahit umaraw o umulan, nandito kayong lahat para sumuporta (We’re happy because rain or shine, you all came to show your support),” said Jane Gollon-Rivera, the city’s first lady and chair of the tourism council.
Citing the huge crowd, with some coming in groups from the city’s 26 barangays, Rivera declared the event a “huge success.”
Half of the historic Pioneer Avenue, which was named after the city’s first settlers, was filled with people who remained cheerful although drenched in the downpour.
Aside from tuna, the crowd was treated for free to grilled seafood, meat, and other delicacies that were contributed by local fishing companies and government agencies.
In a statement, Mayor Ronnel Rivera lauded the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other law enforcement units for keeping the event and the entire Tuna 2018 Festival safe and secure.
On Sunday night, two teenagers were killed and at least 10 others were injured when a bomb exploded in an internet cafe in Isulan town in Sultan Kudarat province, about a hundred kilometers from General Santos City. It was the second blast after the August 28 bombing along the highway in Isulan that left five persons dead and 30 others injured.
The General Santos City police and the Army-led Joint Task Force GenSan doubled security measures in the city following the recent bomb attacks in Isulan town in Sultan Kudarat that killed five people and injured more than 40 others.
Despite the incident, the city government continued with the festivity, which will formally end on Wednesday.
“I am happy that we are all celebrating the Tuna Festival in these trying times. I am thankful for your continuous support to this festivity,” the mayor said.
He reiterated that the local government and security units are doing their best to ensure that local communities will remain peaceful and secure.
The “Sugbahan sa Dalan,” which was first held in 2014, is a brainchild of the city tourism council.
It has since become a regular event and among the highlights of the annual Tuna Festival. (MindaNews)