Mayor: Festival organizers violate parade permit

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011


TACLOBAN City Mayor Alfred Romualdez barricaded organizers of the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival of Festivals along Real Street, saying they violated the original route contained on the permit requested by them from his office.

The organizers of the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival of Festivals were having their street parade Monday as part of their activities for the Tacloban fiesta on Thursday.

Romualdez blocked the organizers of the twin festival along Real Street using four dump trucks.

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“What they did was to sow anarchy here in Tacloban… by using streets not (specified) under their parade route. I will not allow them to paralyze the entire city,” Romualdez said.

The participating contingents of the festival came from various parts of the province and some barangays of Tacloban.

Romualdez said he has to block the organizers from using the Real Street en route to their venue at the Leyte Sports Development Center (LSDC) as it would violate their original route as contained on the permit from his office.

He insisted that as the mayor of the city, he is accountable to whatever incident that may arise from the incident.

“The organizers of the festival are not from Tacloban. This is the fiesta of Tacloban,” he said.

The City Government has its own festival, Sangyaw, which is held every 29th day of June. Tacloban, as a highly urbanized city, is no longer part of the administrative control of the Provincial Government of Leyte.

Romualdez said that what happened has caused the city’s business sector “millions of pesos” of income loss.

Both An Waray party-list Representatives Florencio “Bem” Noel and Neil Benedict Montejo tried to intervene on the impasse but failed to convince the City Government to allow the parade to continue.

The parade is supposed to use other streets of the city with Real Street not among those mentioned in the approved permit issued by his office last Friday, Romualdez said.

Real Street connects to other major city streets of Tacloban to the LSDC.

However, the organizers claimed otherwise, saying the street has been part of their parade route for the past 16 years now.

The organizers of the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival of Festivals, held every 27th of June, are known to be political rivals of Romualdez.

Among them was former Leyte governor and now Palo town Mayor Remedios Petilla, mother of the incumbent governor, Jericho.

Petilla, meanwhile, criticized Romualdez for his display of “arrogance of power.”

“What we are doing is to celebrate the fiesta in honor of Senior Santo Niño but what he was doing is using his force just to stop us,” Petilla said.

With the city mayor insisting on his ground, the organizers of the Pintados-Kasadyaan decided to turn back and return to the LSDC where the competing contingents are to perform their ritual dance in the afternoon.

Father Amadeo Alvero, one of the parish priests of the Santo Niño Parish, was dismayed on the incident.

“We are very sad about what happened this day. The people, particularly the contingents, were the ones affected. We hope and pray that such incident would never happen again,” Alvero said in a text message.

Petilla later said after the more than seven-hour presentation she feel vindicated with the huge turnout of crowd who watched the activity at the LSDC. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)

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