KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 10 July) – Police have deployed over 500 personnel in parts of the city in line with the celebration of the province’s 2019 Tnalak Festival and 53rd foundation anniversary slated on July 12 to 18.
Col. Joel Limson, South Cotabato police director, said Wednesday they have assigned teams to secure various venues for the upcoming festivities and other strategic areas in line with their comprehensive security plan.
He said city police personnel are currently on full deployment and augmented by teams from the provincial and regional police offices and the Army's 27th Infantry Battalion.
"Our security efforts are already in place, in coordination with the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), and we are doing everything to ensure that the celebration will be safe and secure," he said in a radio interview.
The Tnalak Festival, now on its 20th year, will start with an interfaith thanksgiving celebration at the South Cotabato Gymnasium and Cultural Center on Friday, July 12.
Newly elected Governor Reynaldo S. Tamayo Jr., will lead the festivity, which is considered as one of the biggest annual celebrations in Region 12.
The formal opening ceremony will be on Saturday, with presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte as the invited guest speaker.
Nightly shows and daily events are slated in Koronadal City until its culmination on July 18, the province's 53rd founding anniversary.
The highlights include the Investment and Business Conference, Regional Trade Expo, Mutya ng South Cotabato, 2nd National Open Hip-Hop Competition, Tnalak Color Run, Tnalak Festival Tri-People Grand Parade and Street Dancing Grand Showdown.
Limson said their security operations will be centered at the festival venues along Alunan Avenue and Arellano Street.
The South Cotabato gymnasium and sports complex, which will host several major events, are located along Alunan Avenue. It will also host Tnalak strip, food garden, agri-fair, "bahay kubo" showcase, and the plants and product display.
As in the previous celebrations, Limson said the bringing of back packs, lighters, as well as bladed and pointed items, will be strictly prohibited in all venues.
An advisory issued by the festival secretariat said the wearing of face masks, helmets, caps, and sunglasses are also prohibited at the venues.
It said authorities will impose the ban on smoking in all public places and the selling of tobacco to minors.
Persons under the influence of liquor or illegal substance will not be allowed to enter the festival venues, it added.
Limson said they also tightened security measures in other parts of the province and have activated additional checkpoints that will operate round-the-clock.
He said there are closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed in key streets and checkpoints, especially in entry and exit areas.
"We're under martial law so all our units remain under heightened alert," he added. (MindaNews)
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