The 77th Araw ng Dabaw’s street-dancing competition, one of the major events in this year’s celebration, will be held inside the People’s Park here in Davao City due to threat from terrorism.
In a press conference held last night after the security briefing with the police and the military, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said there is an existing terror threat that prompted him to decide such.
SOT: DAVAO CITY MAYOR RODRIGO DUTERTE
The mayor said that just like in the past celebrations, the city will be hardened by security forces with more pronounced checkpoints and more warm bodies to be deployed to monitor any terrorist activities in the city.
Asked how tight the security would be, Duterte said it will be reminiscent of the martial law years.
Though not divulging details of the terror threat, Mayor Duterte somewhat cleared the New People’s Army from the suspicion saying that the NPA is even welcome to join the celebration provided they leave their firearms in the mountains.
He said he is in constant contact with the communist rebel groups operating in the city and that they are not involved in any terror plot to bomb the civilian populace.
Duterte could not say of the other groups however thus he is sending emissaries to them to consult with them and ask for their cooperation to make the celebration of the Araw ng Dabaw a safe and successful one.
Duterte admitted that the reported 17 bombers of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters out on a test mission to do series of bombings in Mindanao is part of his decision to tighten security during the celebration. He said he does not want the twin bombings of 2003 to happen again in his city.
In March 2003, a bomb exploded outside the terminal of the old Sasa airport which was followed by another bomb explosion on April 2003 outside the Sasa wharf passengers terminal.
Scores died and hundreds were injured from the two bombings.