Dinagyang’s real ‘problem’

By Alex P. Vidal

“Paranoia is just another word for ignorance.” — Hunter S. Thompson

THERE’S nothing to worry actually.

The Dinagyang Festival 2020 is in the safe hands.

So far, it has been managed magnificently by the Iloilo Festivals Foundation, Inc. (IFFI), which was constituted under the Treñas administration last year.

The Department of Tourism (DoT), headed by Regional Director, Atty. Helen C. Catalbas in the regional office, and Iloilo City Hall Tourism Office headed by Junel Ann Divinagracia, have been on top of the situation in as far as promotion of the mammoth religious and cultural festival is concerned.

What is the problem?

Nothing except the paranoia and over acting (OA) of some city officials and the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO).

Their “fear” of a terroristic attack during the street celebration was actually a copycat of the same weird reaction by authorities who handled the security of Pop Francis’ visit in Manila in 2015 and the Black Nazarene procession in Quiapo.




Iloilo City, historically, has never been a target of extremists or hardline terrorists.

Not even a disturbance or interference from the right and the left militants.

Ditto for the Dinagyang Festival which is a non-political affair.

Ilonggos are religious and peaceful; no terrorist—real or imagined—will waste his time to terrorize the Ilonggos during this solemn but festive occasion for no reason at all.

Ilonggos neither harm nor incite violence and aggression against any group that is identified to be engaged in religious and political violence and terrorism.

It is their uncanny and thought-provoking reactions that make other people think from other regions that there’s a real and present danger and threat in the celebration of the Dinagyang Festival.




The decision to jam the telecommunication lines during the highlight of the Dinagyang Festival on the final day was the combined handiwork of the paranoid ICPO and the City Council.

They swallowed hook, line, and sinker the police “intelligence” report that terrorists might sabotage the festival.

Which terrorist?

Who are these terrorists?

Its mere figment of their imagination.

Troublemakers like the drunken revelers, gang members, sex offenders, muggers, snatchers who mix the crowd aren’t terrorists.

They can be dealt with accordingly by manual police force.

These street rascals don’t operate time bombs and laser-laced gadgets that would totally disrupt and destroy the Dinagyang celebration.




Meanwhile, heading the set of IFFI interim officers that is doing a yeoman’s job for the success of Dinagyang Festival 2020 are businessman Judgee Peña as chairperson; vice chairperson Felipe Uygongco; president Jobert Peñaflorida; vice president Ronald Raymond Sebastian; treasurer Roland Uy; PRO Rogelio Florete.

ICFFI members are the following: John Alexander Que; Allan Ryan Tan; Phillip Chua; Joemarie Layson; Atty. Eugenio Hautea; Molly Grande; Ivy Gurrea; Angel de Leon, Jr.; and Honorato Espinosa.

Our Dinagyang Festival 2020 is penciled to mount unprecedented heights under the able and pro-active role these people have been doing for the occasion these past months.