BY SILVER C. BALANZA
The Kadayawan Festival 2014 next month is expected to lure the same number of local and foreign tourists if not more than last year’s despite security fears triggered by unconfirmed reports Davao City is facing terrorists in the eye.
Tourism officer Lisette Marquez said the apprehension over possible terrorist violence has dissipated through efforts to correct the misinformation that had planned meetings and visits cancelled and endangered the success of the top-drawing annual festival.
Dabawenyos and the police and military have been on their toes since last week after reports of the terrorist threat broke out.
Ironically, no less than President Benigno Aquino sparked the public fear by warning Mayor Rodrigo Duterte about the terrorist threat gathered by military intelligence.
Being Mindanao’s premier city, Davao City is a potential target of terrorists and the Davao City Police and the Philippine Army Task Force Davao are on alert 24/7 to ward off any attack. The city have had its bombing attacks un the past the worst of which were the 2003 separate bombings of the Sasa Wharf and the Davao International Airport where dozens were killed and hundreds injured.
Duterte was confident the city is secure with its anti-terrorist watch but nevertheless ordered heightened alert following the information from President Aquino.
Sadly after the shock wave of the presidential advice to Duterte, President Aquino would later say the information he gave to the mayor was “raw” that needed verification.
Marquez said the shockwave has now turned into a ripple.
She said the tourism office was in the thick of efforts to neutralize the shocking report of terror threats on the city, as the office was swamped with calls inquiring if Davao City is still safe to visit.
Boncato urged industry players to help in the information campaign to deny the city is under threat.
Marquez said the Kadayawan last year lured more than 100,000 local and foreign tourists.
The crow-drawing highlights of the Kadayawan – Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan (Street Dancing) and Pamulak (Floral Float aprade) — will be held on August 16 – 17, with over 2,000 law enforcers fielded to security tourists and visitors.