EXPANDED ORDER ‘No backpack’ policy to be enforced in Araw events

Spectators and participants in upcoming Araw ng Davao 2019 celebration are expected to follow security protocol. This means, they are also discouraged from bringing backpacks as part of the city’s “No Backpack” policy.

Public Safety and Security Command Center (PSSCC) deputy chief Angel Sumagaysay said that they will also implement it during the celebration, as agreed during the coordination meeting with city officials. He said that more than 3,000 security and auxiliary forces will be deployed during the festivities.

Sumagaysay said that security officers will be strict in the policy, especially in close door events, including the Mutya ng Dabaw, Ginoong Davao and Reyna Dabawenya pageants.

“We wanted to ensure the safety of those who will be going to the Araw ng Dabaw,” he told Edge Davao in a phone interview on Tuesday.

Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio ordered the banning of backpacks, big bags, and bulky plastic bags inside all churches and other places of worship in the aftermath of the Jolo blasts inside the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Cathedral last January 27 that killed 22 people and left over 100 injured.

Sumagaysay added they are also discouraging the public from bringing backpacks during the Lamdag Parada, one of the main highlights of the celebration, happening on March 16.

Sumagaysay emphasized that the order is not intended to bring inconvenience to the public.

Police Regional Office 11 (PRO 11) director Chief Supt. Marcelo C. Morales, meanwhile, said more than 1,000 police personnel will be on active duty during the celebration. Morales clarified that his office has not yet received an intelligence report on possible threats that would disrupt the festivities. But he said that the Davao Region is on a level two alert. 

He said that the PRO11 will maintain a full alert status, not discounting threats from communists, New People’s Army (NPA), terrorists and Muslim extremists.

The 82nd celebration of the Araw ng Dabaw also falls within the 2019 midterm election campaign period.

The City Tourism and Operations Office (CTOO) is looking at some 200,000 tourists and visitors for the whole month of March this year.

CTOO head Generose Tecson also reminded the public to refrain from wearing clothing resembling that of the military, police or security forces as to avoid any confusion. Republic Act 493 prohibits civilians from wearing, using, manufacturing, and selling military uniforms, insignia, medals, and badges prescribed only for soldiers and policemen.

Tecson noticed the proliferation of civilians wearing garments resembling these uniforms. The reminders are for both local and foreign tourist to follow and respect local ordinances, she stressed.