By Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – Police Colonel Noel Aliño, director of the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO), has urged the 2,949 security forces for the 44th edition of the MassKara Festival here to triple their efforts in safeguarding the people and the visitors.
The security forces led by Aliño, who is the commander of the Site Task Group (STG) MassKara Festival 2023 were sent off yesterday at the BCPO headquarters, a day before the official kick-off of the festival on Friday, October 6.
Of the figure, 941 were from the BCPO, 1,041 were augmentation from Police Regional Office (PRO)-6, 400 were force multipliers, and 567 others were from other agencies.
Security forces from other agencies include 10 from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team, four from the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO), 31 from Aviation Security, 40 from Regional Revitalized Police sa Barangay (RPSB), 10 from Highway Patrol Group (HPG), eight from Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), 12 from the Maritime, eight from the Philippine Army, 20 from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), eight from the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), 400 from the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO), eight from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and eight from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).
Aliño said that they have implemented a skeleton deployment of personnel prior to the opening of the festivity and will enforce maximum security towards the highlight of the festival, adding that these personnel will have no off-duty.
Aliño said that they are targeting zero-casualty or zero festival-related incidents this year, as he appealed for the public’s cooperation.
He noted that this festival is different from the previous years, considering that the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) also coincided with the said event this month.
“Kailangan din namin bantayan ang 61 barangays for a peaceful election,” he said.
Aside from that, he said that policemen should also continue to be aggressive in their anti-criminality campaign amid these two activities.
“Kahit walang festivals, ang instruction is to always exercise maximum tolerance and discipline,” he said.
“Let’s have a safe and peaceful festival and election,” he said.
Lieutenant Colonel Edel Jose Manzano, BCPO deputy city director for administration leads the Site Sub-Task Group (STTG) for security; while Lieutenant Colonel Edyliz Ritche Crucero, BCPO deputy city director for operations is the STTG commander for peace and order.
‘All systems go for MassKara Festival’
City officials led by Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez will lead the MassKara Grand Countdown Salubong to kick off this year’s MassKara Festival at the Bacolod City Government Center (BCGC) grounds on October 6.
Festival Chairperson, Jojie Dingcong said that “it’s all systems go with all preparations in place to make this year’s festival even more exciting, bigger, bolder and brighter.”
Expected to grace the event are Bacolod City Rep. Greg Gasataya and Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, along with other officials and guests from all over the province.
Popular pop-rock band, The Juans, will be the main attraction for the opening salvo. There will also be other performances by local bands, as well as three of the top winners in last year’s Arena Dance Competition, according to Dingcong.
Rodney Ascalon, director of the Salubong event, said the stage will be ready to showcase performances by 5 p.m. for the pre-show entertainment as well as games from their platinum sponsors that promise big prizes for those who will join the countdown.
All 15 candidates vying for the Miss Bacolod MassKara 2023 will also be performing along with some contestants for this year’s search for Electric Diva as part of the main show that will display snippets of what the people will expect to happen in this year’s MassKara Festival, he added.
Meanwhile, Bacolod Yuhum Foundation President Katherine Matiling said that they had a final interagency meeting last Wednesday to ensure that all preparations, particularly for security, are in place as the festival kicks off.
At midnight, a fireworks display will cap the Salubong followed by DJ Bien for the after-party celebration.