Prior to the start of the celebration of Kadayawan 2013, we agonized over the fear this year’s Kadayawan would be the lousiest ever. And for a very serious reason.
At the homestretch to opening day, bombs exploded in key cities in Mindanao killing and injuring dozens.
Terrorism is a deadly brew that keeps everybody in Mindanao cringing in fear with deadly apprehension when the bombs start exploding. Terrorists are not bound by borders. They could hit anytime, anywhere.
Davao City had its own share of the violence and the attendant misery and suffering having in the past been hit thrice by deadly bombings.
So you have to understand that there is apprehension about pushing through with the top crowd- and tourist-drawing Kadayawan events. People as target is a terrorist’s primary goal so that we have a magnet for attacks in large crowds during the festival.
For a while even Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was having apprehensions himself about the security of people during the celebration.
Of course we know that every Dabawenyo would agree that no one can beat their mayor for grit and brawn and bravery and courage. But it is different when people are placed under risk as would happen if terrorists come with their bombs during the Kadayawan. There is a whale of a difference between fighting criminals, hoodlums and other scums of the earth—for which Duterte is well-known for—and fighting phantom terrorists.
I will not put in peril the lives of people which could happen if I’m going to push through with the events in spite of the threat, Duterte had said to explain why he plans to scratch off the major events.
On July 26, in Cagayan de Oro City, a bomb ripped through a crowded restobar, killing eight people and wounding 46 others.
In Cotabato City in August 5, a car bomb exploded in downtown, killing 9 people. Thirty people were injured in the afternoon blast in the predominantly-Muslim populated city in Central Mindanao.
That was a weekly routine of terrorists slaughtering people, only weeks ahead of the Kadayawan. The next bomb could explode in Davao City!
But fear can be subdued. There is a solution to terrorism: a counter force in the form of police and military, a vigilant public and an unstoppable spirit to celebrate despite the risk, the same spirit that the Dabawenyos had when their mayor said: Oooopppssss!, morag delikado!
The reaction against the decision of the apprehensive Duterte was varied, some wondering if the gutsy mayor has lost his balls!
Social media was flooded, with loud no! no! no !. We proceed!
Even Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte hurled in a courageous pitch. No fear. Don’t be afraid. I will join you in the celebration.
A businessman said postponing some of the events of the Kadayawan means giving in to fear. We should not allow the terrorists to terrorize us! We can protect our peace.
Some thought Duterte is right. Kadayawan is a tourist attraction and not pushing through with it could affect our image as a tourists’ and investors’ haven. Asus, a businessman says. With or without the Kadayawan, the tsunami of tourists and investors will continue to flood the city!
At any rate, everything went well and we had just finished celebrating the Kdayawan, bomb-free, terror-free, trouble-free, crime-free. Except for that old man who groped a young girl watching the street dancing parade in CM Recto!
Before the two-day main events, Duterte had stopped playing kill joy, announcing that he would not cancel the Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan (Street Dancing) and the Pamulak sa Kadayawan (Floral Float Parade) .
The twin parades are the Kadayawan’s much awaited events that would snake through the city’s main thoroughfares and viewed by thousands of people, a potential target for terroristic violence.
But public frustration over not seeing the events reached a dead end after Duterte made a turn-around.
The decision came only after Duterte ordered a tight security cordon around the city and over police and military assurance that terrorists can never have an opening to sow violence.
Ironically, while the fear factor played monkey during the celebration, on the same week, an international outfit monitoring crime situations in key cities in the world placed Davao City fourth in the list of safest cities in the world.
Numbeo.com. in its website listed 349 cities worldwide with Davao City ranking fourth following Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (first), Lugano, Switzerland (second) and Marbella, Spain (third).
Methink, nobody can fault Duterte if he played kill joy and killed the Indak-Inak and Pamulak for security reasons.
Downplaying terrorist threats can be costly to lives and property and spirit.
And Duterte knows this.
As city mayor, Duterte had gone through three past bombing attacks on the city: San Pedro Cathedral on December 26, 1993, Davao International Airport on March 4, 2003 and Sasa Wharf bombing on April 2, 2003. Dozens of people were killed and hundreds were wounded in the trio of unprovoked violence senselessly against the city and the Dabawenyos.
The first was most painful, targeting the city’s center of the Catholic faith after Christmas. The second and third in the same year and only days apart were shocking and cruel: scores killed in the twin attacks before and after the city celebrated the Araw ng Dabaw, the city’s founding anniversary.
Well, we ended Kadayawan without a hair lost. Now let us talk about the next Kadayawan, the Paskuhan and the Araw ng Dabaw.
And about that maniac of an old pastor who— during the celebration of the bomb-free, terror-free, trouble-free, crime-free Kadayawan 2013— groped a young girl in the middle of a large crowd watching the Indak-Indak street dancing parade!