Police: Oro fiesta generally peaceful

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Friday, August 29, 2014

THE city’s Higalaay Kagay-an Festival 2014 that drew a crowd of around 50,000 on Wednesday and Thursday remained under control by authorities as the celebration took place on its final two days, the police said Thursday.

Chief Inspector Lemuel Gonda, chief of the city police's Operations and Plans Branch, said the 392nd Feast of St. Augustine in Cagayan de Oro Thursday was "generally peaceful" with only petty crimes being recorded.

"There were no more than serious crimes that transpired in the city yesterday (August 28). However, we cannot still not declare it with zero crime rate because of the minor incidents that happened," Gonda told Sun*Star Cagayan de Oro by phone Thursday afternoon.


Station commanders from different police precincts in the city confirmed Gonda's pronouncement following the movement in their areas.

Chief Inspector Henry Cay-as, Divisoria police station commander, told this paper via text message that his area of responsibility where most of the activities for the fiesta day were held was "calm."

Senior Inspector Ariel Phillip Pontillas, Senior Inspector Richie Salva, and Inspector Ivan Viñas, heads of the precincts in Macasandig, Bulua, and Carmen, respectively, all confirmed to this paper that barangays Iponan, Bulua, Macasandig, Nazareth, Carmen, Kauswagan, Bonbon, Bayabas, Patag, Canitoan and Balulang have not listed major crimes during the festivities.

At Cogon police station, most crimes for the day involved theft cases.

PO1 Barcy Gaabucayan, Cogon police crime statistician, said theft cases have been the trend since suspects are taking advantage of the influx of tourists and visitors, especially at major malls in the city where there is a huge crowd.

Although there were no road accidents during the parade, jeepney drivers complained that non-compliance of the re-routing scheme by the Roads and Traffic Administration (RTA) enforcers themselves had caused confusion among public vehicles on the road.

For his part, Engineer Nonito Oclarit, RTA chief, told this paper that traffic enforcers know the best thing to do when road traffic goes off-the-hook.

"If the implemented re-routing does not work, enforcers have the authority to initiate something to decongest the traffic flow and prevent it from creating damages," he said.

On August 28, a fluvial parade started from Barangay Macabalan’s riverbank to Duaw Park which is located nearby the metropolitan cathedral.

A series of masses at St. Augustine Cathedral Church also brought a crowd of 5,000 Catholic believers.

"Let us all be thankful for the blessings we have received. Let's continue to push for the attainment of peace in Mindanao, not only in Cagayan de Oro. And this should start within our homes, then to the community," Archbishop Antonio Ledesma told the attendees.

On the pre-fiesta celebration last Wednesday, August 27, over 30,000 spectators witnessed the float competition, civic-military parade of ‘Higantes’ (huge effigies) and various schools' drum and bugle corps.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 29, 2014.

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