Editorial: The power is in the people

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Sunday, August 17, 2014


IT WAS a success, all right. But only because people came in droves and enjoyed themselves. Otherwise? The organization running the festival seems not to know where a festival gets its power from - people who take photos and videos and celebrate. Without these people, a festival is nothing.

The way the photographers and cameramen were treated in the two main events of Kadayawan is something that should never happen again, especially if Kadayawan wants to claim that it is the premier festival of Mindanao.

You don't go around treating professional photographer and serious hobbyists like they are children who do not know their craft. You only gather them for a briefing way before the festival and make them know where are the areas they are allowed and where they should not be.

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Now, to harangue them on the very day even with the passes that no less than the City Government has released is an act by people in power who do not know why they are there and who did not even bother to coordinate with whoever is the chief organizer. To shout at them as if they were recalcitrant schoolchildren just because they are sitting in a group with their cameras around their neck is an act not worthy of a police officer.

Special mention is given to Senior Inspector Royina Garma and the unnamed marshals who treated photographers like they were plotting to do some crime. Please, learn some courtesy. Festivals prosper because of the interest of the people. The police officers and the marshals who apparently were just doing what their higher-ups are doing have just done a disservice to the Dabawenyos.

Photo hobbyists, for the information of the ignorant and the police, are actually people with serious jobs -- a lot of them are company executives -- but who have seen the importance of spreading interest on the experience as their share in spreading the word about Kadayawan.

These photographers and hobbyists have their own clout, their own followers, and groups who would willingly host them to shoot their festivals. One festival not documented will not matter to them. There are many more. But in Davao City, one festival is everything. What's left then?

We hope that the executive committee of the Kadayawan Festival will take note of all these and ensure that these people who believe they are more important than the revelers be put in their proper places. A festival is about people who come to celebrate and share the experience. It is not about policemen and their deputies with their misplaced authority and their uncouth manner.

As Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte would often say, "Dito sa Dabaw, isa lang dapat ang actor."

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 18, 2014.

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