Don’t lose a child in Dinagyang

By Alex P. Vidal

“At the end of the day, the goals are simple: safety and security.”—Jodi Rell

ONE of the best executive orders by a sitting city mayor in Iloilo City intended for the Dinagyang Festival was signed by Atty. Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas on January 22, 2024.

I have known the Dinagyang Festival; what it is all about; how it is prepared, managed, celebrated, venerated and promoted since the 70s as a resident of Iloilo City in the City Proper since birth.

I have witnessed scores of children wailing, waggling frenziedly and getting hurt after being left behind accidentally in the sidewalks and roads by adult companions or parents and couldn’t immediately locate them.

But it’s the first time that a city mayor has emphasized the need to safeguard our children who may be brought by their parents and/or guardians to the festival or tarry in the crowded venues of the festival activities unaccompanied by any adult.

It’s the first time that the parents are being seriously exhorted in a city hall fiat to ensure the safety and security of their children who might be physically present in downtown, City Proper during the festival and the revelry that will ensue.


In an Executive Order No. 010 Series of 2024 “Providing for safety and security measures to be implemented during the 2024 Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo City,” Treñas “adopted” or zeroed in on the Iloilo City Police Office’s child safety guidelines.

In Letter A (Safety Measures for the General Public) of Section 3 on Permissible Activities; Prohibitions of the Executive Order, Treñas stressed the following:

-Set a meeting place for a child to go when he/she gets lost;

-Use identification cards, bracelets, o tags with contact information;

-Make sure the child knows his/her name and parent’s contact information;

-Pair each child with a friend or sibling;

-Wear bright colors to be easily seen in the crowd;

-Bring a recent photo of the child. Keep a good watch on the child and hold hands in crowded places;

-Teach the child about “stranger danger” and remind him/her to NOT to talk or go with strangers; and

-Identify and teach the child to go to the nearest police assistance desk.


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(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)