Security plan set for Higalaay Kagaya-an fest

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

HAVING beefed up with over a thousand law enforcers that will be visible throughout the city, security is set for next week's 1st Higalaay Kagay-an Festival 2014 in Cagayan de Oro to safeguard tourists, 'balikbayans' and residents in the city for its grandest celebration of the year.

Senior Superintendent Graciano Mijares, chief of the Cagayan de Oro Police Office (Cocpo), assured the public—domestic and foreign visitors and locals alike—that the feast would turn out "pleasant" and "peaceful."

With its security map "Oplan Senior San Agustin 2014," the local police has placed the city on high alert since last week.


The plan is jointly cooperated by the city's local government unit and the Philippine Army.

"We already have detailed plan for all the activities. Our increased structure of command system is in coordination with all other organizations [who are] helping us like the Philippine military. All systems are set for the fiesta," Mijares told Sun*Star Cagayan de Oro Wednesday morning.

Major Christian Uy, chief of the 4th Infantry Division's (4ID) public affairs office, said they have deployed personnel for the month-long celebration of fiesta in monitoring suspicious persons entering the city.

"We have close coordination with the organizers of the festival. We have prepared troops for additional security of some events especially the parade and the procession," Uy told this paper via text message.

Mijares furthered that security forces have always considered imminent threats, even in the absence of a huge celebration like the annual fiesta.

"In our preparation with our security plan, we take everything into consideration—threats from terrorism, criminality. All these we look into to ensure pleasant and peaceful celebration," he said.

Hurdled with the 1:1000 ratio of policemen in the city, Mijares admitted difficulty to strike a balance between the number of law enforcers and the expected influx of tourists most especially at the height of the celebration on August 27-28.

The police augmentation has in a way helped neutralize the ratio, he added.

The Special Training Unit of Northern Mindanao's Police Regional Office (PRO) had already augmented 100 police trainees scattered around the city since the second week of August.

As of Wednesday, 150 police officers coming from the PRO's Regional Public Safety Battalion has been added to the security forces.

Internal vigilance

Mijares asked the public for their help through internal vigilance.

"As we go around the city and join activities, let us be watchful. If we notice someone suspicious, report it to the police," he noted.

Mijares said public assistance centers in crowded areas like malls, churches, plazas and bus terminals will be put up, while police officers will be stationed at all corners.

In a closed-door meeting Wednesday morning, police chiefs of Iligan City, Cagayan de Oro, Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental were convened to discuss measures to counter terrorist threats during the cities’ upcoming festivities.

Malaybalay City in Bukidnon will observe its 100th founding anniversary through the Kaamulan Festival come August 30, while Iligan will celebrate its Diyandi Festival next month.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 21, 2014.

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