CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 27 Aug) – Thousands participated in the Higalaay civic-military parade here Tuesday morning and many more Kagay-anons watched it by the street side despite stringent security measures implemented by the local police.
Major Ivan Vinas, spokesperson of the Cagayan de Oro Police Office, said more than 10,000 students, government employees, soldiers and priests joined the parade, a traditional event held the day before the city fiesta honoring Saint Augustine.
Vinas said even dogs and clowns in colorful costumes participated in the parade, making it the biggest in the city’s 69-year history.
“This is the biggest and the crowd really behave well following the orders of the police,” he said.
Vinas said an estimated 30,000 people lined up along the parade route from Rodelsa Rotunda to Lim Ketkai Center, a stretch of 2.5 kilometers, via the city’s main thoroughfares.
A big delegation of soldiers from the Army’s 4th Infantry Division spearheaded the 120 contingents that participated in the parade.
Police implemented stringent security measures aimed to deter possible terrorist attacks.
The two major phone companies – Globe and Smart – cut off their mobile phone signals during the duration of the parade, from 8 a.m. until noon.
Vinas said they also imposed a “no wearing of hats and no backpacks” policy for the crowd.
“We did not hear a whimper of complaints. The people just followed our orders,” he said.
The tradition of holding civic-military parade a day before the Cagayan de Oro fiesta celebrating the Feast of Saint Augustine dates back after World War II ended.
Historian Antonio Montalvan II said by tradition Cagayan de Oro celebrates its municipal fiesta on August 27 while the city celebrates its religious fiesta on August 28.
“After the war, political and religious structures were more defined,” Montalvan said.
He said there are old pictures of Cagayan de Oro residents riding World War II type vehicles participating in the parade.
Montalvan said there are some suggestions that the tradition of holding civic-military parades began before the war.
President Elpidio signed Republic Act No. 521, which granted the status of a chartered city to the Municipality of Cagayan de Misamis (the former name of Cagayan de Oro) on June 15, 1950. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)