The 82ND founding anniversary of Davao City kicked off on March 1 amid tight security, with up to 4,500 personnel from the city, regional, and other auxiliary forces deployed throughout the city on shifting schedules from March 1 to 19.
The opening program of the Araw ng Davao featured a 3D mapping light show that showed the different icons of the city at the facade of the City Hall.
“We are showing the history of Davao and this is important so we know where we came from and where we are headed,” City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO) Chief Regina D. Tecson said.
The 15-minute light show will be up until March 16, and will play from 6 to 10 p.m.
This year’s Araw ng Davao celebration seeks to highlight not only the city’s history but its diversity.
Ms. Tecson said that for the first time, the Mutya ng Davao Search held on March 2 included a member of the lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT) community.
“For the first time also, we will be conducting the Ginoong Davao pageant for male Dabawenyos who embody the Dabawenyo spirit and the Reyna Dabawenya for transgenders,” she said.
Meanwhile, the City Tourism Office is optimistic the city can hit its target of 2.8 million tourist arrivals this year, noting the city’s line-up of convention and sports events.
Tecson said this year’s target is higher than last year’s 2.4 million tourist arrivals.
She said the local government is intensively promoting the city as the best venue for meetings and conventions, pointing to several international sports events this year such as the Ironman 70.3 triathlon slated in March.
“We have lined up big events starting from the DAVRAA (Davao Region Athletic Association), Chinese New Year, Araw ng Davao, Ironman, Palarong Pambansa and a lot more,” she said.
She said packaging the city as an enjoyable place to tour around and a safe place to stay has boosted the local tourism industry.
“Also, the Dabawenyos posting good (things) about Davao helps a lot in promoting the city,” Tecson said.
Another reason for the influx of tourist arrivals is the opening of new international routes such as the latest Davao City-Xiamen and Davao City Hong Kong connections.
“Because of the new international routes, we have reached 15 percent increase in foreign tourist (arrivals). This is higher compared to the 9 to 10 percent foreign tourist arrivals in 2017,” she said.
The multi-agency security cluster for the Araw ng Davao has assured a safe celebration of this city’s founding anniversary.
Senior Supt. Alexander Tagum, Davao City Police Office (DCPO) director, said that about 4,500 cops will be deployed from March 1 to 19 when the city celebrates its 82nd founding anniversary.
Tagum said the security forces will also include an augmentation from the Police Regional Office (PRO)-11 and other auxiliary forces.
He said the Army-led Task Force Davao will also secure other places while the City Transport and Traffic Management Office (CTTMO) will send out 589 traffic enforcers.
Despite the huge forces to ensure the safety and security of the people against saboteurs, Tagum said vigilance and cooperation of the public is still needed.
“Padayon ang among hangyo sa suporta sa mga tawo (We continue to call for support from the people). The people should continue to be vigilant and be aware of their surroundings,” Tagum said.
Tagum police will implement the regular security measures such as the prohibition of backpacks, cola drinks in canisters, and bladed weapons.
He also called on the public to avoid making “bomb jokes” to prevent panic and stampede especially during the convergence of people in Araw events.
Chief Supt. Marcelo Morales, Police Regional Office-11 director, said all enforcement agencies and all units of the police will undertake tightened security measures, traffic management direction and control, public safety services, checkpoints within the city proper and boundaries to ensure the safety of the people.
“The burden of responsibility is in the hands of the law enforcement agencies,” he said, as also called on the public to be alert, vigilant and wary of suspicious personalities and packages and to report them to the authorities.
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