By Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – The Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) is ready to initially deploy at least 1,200 security forces to ensure peace and order during the celebration of the 43rd MassKara Festival here from Oct.1 to 23.
Police Colonel Thomas Joseph Martir, director of Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) presented the security forces to Atty. Pinky Mirano Ocampo, festival organizer of Balik Yuhum Foundation Inc., during the send-off ceremony held at the BCPO parade grounds.
Martir said the security forces included personnel from the BCPO, and augmentation from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Philippine Army, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO), Highway Patrol Group, Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB)-6, Maritime police, Philippine Air Force, and force multipliers, among others.
Additional forces from the Police Regional Office (PRO)-6 and other law enforcement units will also be deployed in the coming weeks, adding that its full deployment will be during the highlights of the festivity.
Martir said that deployment of personnel will start by Sept. 30. They will be visible at every festival site, particularly at the public plaza, Lacson Streets, and the Bacolod City Government Center (BCGC).
Martir said he finds this challenging because of the anticipated influx of people, considering that the pandemic suspended the festival for two years.
He recalled the huge volume of revelers when the Tanduay Rum Festival also returned here this year after a two-year hiatus.
“Damo gid tawo kay nahidlaw gid sila sa festivities,” Martir said. Thus, he noted that the BCPO is doubling its security to ensure the safety of the thousands of revelers.
Aside from the safety of the public, Martir also said they are intensifying their monitoring and operations against illegal drugs, as the festival is approaching.
This, after police seized a huge volume of illegal drugs in the past weeks believed to be a supply for the festivity.
Meanwhile, Ocampo said the success of the celebration lies in the hands of the security forces as they ensure stability and a peaceful community.
“As we enjoy the beautiful arts, music, food, concerts, and many others, we also need to keep our city from any form of danger and threats,” Ocampo said. Thus, she noted that their presence everywhere ensures the tourists, residents, visitors, and guests their safety such that they can enjoy the festival at full throttle without fear and hesitation.
While everyone savors the grandeur of the festival, you will sacrifice your time and enjoyment for the sake of other people and for the success of the event, Ocampo said.
“We were not able to enjoy the freedom that we used to until this time that the pandemic has almost been dissolved. Now, we are again preparing for another battle not against any invisible enemy but to keep our city secured and peaceful as we gear towards the celebration of the MassKara Festival,” she added.