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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, October 23, 2018
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Top officials arriving in city,
full MassKara security up


Security forces are all set for the highlights of the 39th MassKara Festival in Bacolod City this weekend, expected to be attended by President Rodrigo Duterte and other national officials.

A gun ban in Bacolod City is in effect, while signal jamming is expected in all festival sites Friday to Sunday, Senior Supt. Francisco Ebreo, Bacolod City Police Office acting director, said yesterday.

The three festival sites are at the Bacolod public plaza, Lacson Tourism Strip and the Bacolod Government Center.

Yesterday, 3,194 government forces and force multipliers, as well as the K-9 dogs, transportation and communication equipment, were officially deployed to secure the 39th MassKara Festival highlights.

Bacolod Councilor Em Ang, MassKara Festival 2018 action officer, said Duterte is expected to join the MassKara on Sunday.

It was confirmed that the president is arriving on Sunday but no specific details have been forwarded yet, Ang said.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat, Senator Cynthia Villar, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and foreign guests are also expected to witness the 39th MassKara Festival highlights in Bacolod City, this weekend.

Balikbayans coming from the United States, including city officials of Long Beach, California, and Korea, are also expected, Ang said.

Ang said the Korean pop boyband, Rion Five, will also perform at the Bacolod City Government Center grounds on 7 p.m. Saturday.

The show will also feature the Bukcheong Lion Dance of South Korea, and Sichuan Opera Troupe of China, she said.

Ang said the show is part of the IMACO (International Mask Arts and Culture Organization) International Conference 2019 Commemorative Cultural Events.

Bacolod will host the IMACO Conference next year.

Ang, who is the executive director of IMACO International Conference 2019, said Bacolod had sent the MassKara Festival dancers to the Andong Mask Dance Festival in Andong City, South Korea on Sept. 28 to Oct. 7 this year.

The MassKara dancers bagged a bronze medal out of 13 countries at the World Mask Dance Competition.

It will now be the turn of IMACO member-countries, particularly South Korea and China, to wow the crowd at the MassKara Festival on Saturday, Ang added.


Meanwhile, the 3,194 government forces sent-off yesterday are composed of personnel from the Philippine National Police, PNP Medical Team, Philippine Coast Guard, Maritime Group, Aviation Security Group, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Highway Patrol Group, Bureau of Fire Protection, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, traffic auxiliary, emergency response personnel, and 12 groups of force multipliers.

Resources such as 165 sets of Civil Disturbance Management Equipment, 315 handheld radios, three base radios with repeaters, 54 motorcycles, 49 four-wheeled vehicles, three fire trucks, four bomb-sniffing dogs, two drones, and a man truck were also deployed to secure the festivities.

Ebreo said that they have increased the number of deployment because, unlike last year, there are members from the IMACO, composed of foreigners from different countries, who will be at the MassKara this year.

Last year they attained a zero major crime incidents throughout the celebration, and they are optimistic that they achieve the same or do better this year.

Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, Police Regional Office-6 director, in his message read by Chief Supt. Carlito Feliciano, said that their objective is to ensure peace and order, and the safety and security of the public.

“We have a daunting challenge because the success and failure of this major event will depend on how well we handle each security requirements,” Bulalacao said.

He said the security contingents have to become proactive, and to remember three things –be vigilant, alert, and stay focused.

They were also told to report anything out of the ordinary, to always respond promptly to any call for assistance, to avoid prolonged use of mobile phones while on their beats, and not to become preoccupied with other concerns when on duty.

Bacolod Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran said that with the careful security preparations of the troops will ensure and guarantee that people will enjoy the festivity.*


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