By Jennifer P. Rendon
Videos and photographs of two groups physically assaulting each other in Kalibo, Aklan went viral on social media.
Police confirmed that members of the two groups – Lagalag and Bayangan Drum and Lyre – figured in a rumble during the street dancing activity, a side event of the Ati-Atihan Festival.
Needless to say, it marred the atmosphere of the supposed religious activity.
Staff Sergeant Jane Vega, Aklan Police Provincial Office (AkPPO) spokesperson, said investigators have yet to determine who started the fight.
Spectators were treated to a physical bout between members of the two groups at 19 Martyrs Street in Barangay Poblacion, Kalibo.
Vega said that police deployed in the nearby area immediately responded and quelled the rumble.
Police only arrested a certain Val, 29, of Barangay Balactasan, Madalag town and Philip, 19, of Barangag Joyao-Joyao, Numancia.
Vega said they were caught in the middle of a fistfight.
A case for alarm and scandal was already filed against them.
Following what happened, more police would be deployed in areas where street dancing is held. They were also told to heighten their foot patrol in the area.
As an offshoot of the incident, Kalibo Mayor Juris Bautista Sucro issued an executive order on Friday, Jan. 19, “relative to the immediate ban of the Lagalag and Bayangan bands from participating in all Sadsad and merrymaking activities related to our cherished Kalibo Señor Sto. Niño Ati-Atihan Festival.”
“This decision is in response to the regrettable incident that occurred outside Kalibo Pastrana Park. The actions of these groups not only disrupted the peace but also marred the spirit of our beloved festival. Such behavior cannot be overlooked and will be met with appropriate disciplinary measures,” he said.
Sucro said the festival should be a joyous celebration, showing unity and respect for their traditions. As such, it is imperative that they should uphold these values and ensure the safety and enjoyment of all participants and spectators.
“We are committed to maintaining the integrity and festive spirit of Ati-Atihan and will not allow the actions of a few to tarnish this important religious and cultural event,” he said.
Sucro also asked for the public’s continued support in preserving the sanctity of their traditions.
Meanwhile, Vega said that police have been told to watch for members of the two groups who might join in this year’s Ati-Atihan events.